Pain au chocolat (Pain de chocolat chocolate bread), also known as chocolatine in the south-west part of France and Canada, is a viennoiserie sweet roll consisting of a cuboid-shaped piece of yeast-leavened laminated dough, similar in texture to a puff pastry, with one or two pieces of dark chocolate in the centre.
Pain au chocolat is made of the same layered doughs as a croissant. Often sold still hot or at least warm from the oven, they are commonly sold alongside croissants in French bakeries and supermarkets.
Legend has it that Marie-Antoinnette introduced the croissant to France, but croissants and pains au chocolat are a relatively modern invention. The word croissant, which refers to a plain form of pain au chocolat shaped like a half-moon or “crescent”, made its entry in the French dictionary in 1863. The type of pastry, called “viennoiserie” in French, was introduced in the early 19th C. when August Zang, an Austrian officer, and Ernest Schwarzer, an Austrian aristocrat, founded a Viennese bakery in Paris located at 92 rue Richelieu.
Originally, croissants and pains aux chocolat were made from a brioche base but later evolved to incorporate a buttery flaky dough (‘pâte feuilletée).
They are often sold in packages at supermarkets and convenience stores, or made fresh in pastry shops.
In Tunisia, Algeria, Morocco, the Netherlands, Belgium, Norway, Ireland and the United Kingdom they are sold in most bakeries, supermarkets and cafés.
In Germany they are sold less frequently than chocolate croissants but are both referred to as “pain au chocolat”.
In Belgium (flemish region, bruxelles and some parts of wallonia) they are sold in most bakeries and are referred as “couque au chocolat”.
In Portugal and Spain they are sold in bakeries and supermarkets as napolitanas (from Naples).
In Mexico they are also most commonly found in bakeries and supermarkets, and are known as chocolatines.
In the United States, English Canada, and Australia they are often referred to as “chocolate croissants”. They are also called chocolatine in French speaking parts of Canada.
In El Salvador and Brazil they are referred to “croissant de chocolate”.
In New Zealand they are commonly referred to as “chocolate croissants” and are sold freshly baked in most bakeries and supermarkets.