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On Paczki Day, Everyone is Polish

It's Fat Tuesday, and that means one thing to Metro Detroiters: Paczki.

As a proud Polish girl, I cannot wait to sink my teeth into these caloric treats that make plain donuts look downright wimpy. And they are a part of living in the D that no Michigan resident or visitor should miss.

Literally, people plan their day around the paczki. It is like St. Patrick's day – only I prefer to get drunk on raspberry filling, thank you very much. There are major pilgrimages to Hamtramck, which still has a large Polish population and great bakeries. In reality, you can buy paczki anywhere, including chain grocery stores. But nothing tastes as good as a lemon-filled dream from the New Polka Bakery.

“Hamtramck continues to contend with a struggling automotive industry, but our annual Paczki Day festivities remind us that the simple things -- a community united in spirit -- can mean the world,” said Eve Doster Knepp, Events Coordinator for the City of Hamtramck.

Don't believe me about New Polka? Hour Detroit agrees with me. Their taste-testers describe the bakery's treats as “dense and fluffy at once.”

For those who want amazing pie and a paczki-like experience, Michigan's own Achatz Handmade Pie Company is unveiling a special new pie just for Fat Tuesday. The Paczki-patterned pie features a crispy sugar glazed pastry shell filled with vanilla cream and topped with their Michigan 4-berry Pie fruit. It will be featured at all six locations and is only available through Feb. 16.

To help you understand the paczki phenomenon, check out some blogs and Web sites I've gathered for your dining enjoyment. I highly recommend my fellow Polish Princess, Detroit Moxie. She outlines the history, the tradition and the glory that is Fat Tuesday for us good Catholics.

Growing up Polish can be difficult, you must endure countless Polish jokes and nobody can pronounce your last name. As I got older I embraced my heritage and am proud to be 100% Polish. I even miss my maiden name, which I always had to spell. On Paczki Day everyone is Polish. Na zdrowie!

By the way, most of the bars, restaurants and cool places to visit in Ham-Town are hosting special events to honor the Great Donut. There are paczki-eating contests. Polish food will be served to those brave enough to try their first bowl of czarnina (don't ask what's in it; just try it. If you're weak of heart, maybe the dill-pickle soup is more your speed). Polka Floyd, the Keilbasa Kings and the Polish Muslims are performing. Check it.

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