If we drive to Buffalo for fresh paczki, can we justify a trip to NOLA for King Cake?
You probably already know it’s Fat Tuesday, the last hurrah of fatty feasting before the Lenten fast begins on Ash Wednesday. But you might not know it’s also Paczki Day!
If you’re of Polish descent or from a town with a strong Polish community, you’ve likely been celebrating Paczki Day long before I discovered the tradition. For the rest of you, dear readers, it breaks out like this: if you’re celebrating Mardi Gras, you eat King Cake. If you’re observing Paczki Day, you munch on paczki — Polish pastry filled with fruit preserves.
This year, we decided to observe both celebrations with a King Cake from Baker St. Bakery and “buttercream” paczki (pronounced “POONCH-key”) from a local grocery store.
While we enjoyed our treats, we found the King Cake a little underwhelming in the flavor department. And although the boxed paczki included some lore via a note from Herbert Holinko, the fellow who helped start Cincinnati’s Paczki Day tradition, they were no pre-feast a high note.
So, the consensus around here is that next year we’ll give making our own King Cake a stab. And since even the wonderful Polska Chata here in Rochester has their paczki shipped in from NYC, we’ll schedule a Buffalo run to Mazurek’s Bakery to give fresh paczki a try. I hear you can get paczki at Mazurek’s year-round if you visit on the right day!
I finished The Head! The Headache was probably the most complex of the inserts, and it’s not quite firing on all cylinders. But I am resisting the instructions to “retire to a darkened room with a couple of aspirin” and instead beginning work on a paper maneki-neko.