Bakeries around the country are preparing for the onslaught of customers seeking their pre-Lenten Paczki fix next month. The Polish treats are similar to jelly donuts with their fried dough and fruit or custard filling, but the dough is much richer. While plum and rosehip fillings are traditional flavors, most U.S. bakeries offer a wide variety of fillings.
Paczki’s American roots can be traced back to Michigan, specifically Hamtramck.
The city claims to be, “home of the original paczki-everything else is just a jelly donut.” As people travel and relocate, their demand for the culinary delights from their home regions travels with them. Whether it’s whoopie pies from Maine or kringles from Wisconsin, the appeal of bakery treats like paczki reach far beyond their home states.
Royal Bakery, Arvada, CO, is among the many retail and in-store supermarket bakeries preparing to do big business this Paczki Day, Feb. 17. “Last year, we had a line out the door from 6 a.m. to noon,” said Jessica Nowotarski. Jessica’s parents, Andrej (Andy) and Janina, opened the bakery in 2000. As a family-owned Polish bakery, Royal Bakery sells paczki all year long. On a normal day, the bakery sells about 40 paczki. On Fat Tuesday, Nowotarski expects to sell more than 3,000. The bakery gets another boost from its ethnic Polish customers who typically purchase about 1,500 paczki on Fat Thursday.
“A lot of people have moved here [Denver] from Detroit and Chicago and know Paczki Day as Tuesday,” Nowotarski said. “But the my Polish customers come on Fat Thursday. It’s a busy week.” The bakery stays open extra hours (6 a.m. to 6 p.m.) during paczki week. Royal Bakeries best-selling flavors are rosehip, raspberry and custard.
Paczki sales at Royal Bakery have increased every year since 2000, and Nowotarski expects 2015 sales to be better than ever because she has increased marketing efforts on social media sites.