Pastry Etiquette 101 from Prince Charles’ Former Butler

Is the first thing you think about when you wake up in the morning: what is the right way to eat a pastry? Not us. Personally, we like dive into a bread basket, tear apart the croissants and savour in those delicious flaky bites. While that might be fun in practice, apparently there’s a specific and more refined way to eat a pastry, who knew?


Former Butler to Prince (now King) Charles, Grant Harrold recently shared in a video on Instagram the most elegant way to consume a pastry. What we found is that it is less about the mechanics and more about the process, if anything. Harrold is something of an expert on etiquette, having worked with King Charles and Queen Consort Camilla in their home in Highgrove for many years. He also had the pleasure of serving as butler for the late Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip during her reign.

While this all might sound a bit remedial for something as simple as eating a croissant, we assure you these pro tips will elevate your hosting game for future brunch-ins. Pinkies up y’all!

Related: Is the Croissant Actually French? We Investigate

Hold back those hungry hands

Like in most table settings, it’s better to offer your guests the opportunity to grab a pastry first. Trust us, we know when the pastries are fresh there’s always one that stands out as your favourite, but as a host it’s your duty to ensure your guest gets first dibs.

Take one, if you can

Whether you’re at a fancy brunch or indulging at home, Harrold suggests taking one pastry. This is advice we simply cannot condone: While we understand piling on your plate might not be the most elegant, eating only one pastry for breakfast is pure madness.

Our rule of thumb

Make sure to have a variety of pastries readily available when serving a brunch basket. The worst feeling is when your guests arrive and all you have to serve is the lesser fan favourite, pain aux raisins. We suggest a mix of croissants, pain au chocolat and perhaps a chausson aux pomme or two.

Related: These Torsades au Chocolat Will Transport You to a French Patisserie