On Tuesday, March 1st, we celebrated Paczki Day aka Fat Tuesday or Mardi Gras by stopping off at three European bakeries which were all quite busy serving their clientele with paczki of all flavors.
As we have learned, Paczki Day is a Polish tradition going back to the Middle Ages and is so named because a paczki consists of all the ingredients that need to be eaten before fasting can begin for Lent.
Accordingly, Paczki Day is celebrated the day before Ash Wednesday in the United States although in Poland most paczki are baked and sold on Fat Thursday which is the Thursday before Lent.
Certainly, the ingredients of paczki have certainly evolved over the years; the first paczki were filled with lard and pork while those of present times consist of fruit jams and/or various cream fillings.
Prepared with this information, we set off on our journey and the first bakery we patronized was the Kolos Andros Ukranian Bakery on State Road in Parma operated by Ms. Halyna Bozij who immigrated to the United States from Ukraine some 30 years ago.
We then drove a few blocks to Colozza’s Bakery on Ridge Road where we talked for a minute with Miss Jalena Colozza who told us that that this was a family business that was founded by her grandparents who immigrated to the United States from Italy sometime in the mid-1970’s-early 1980’s.
Lastly, we headed over to Samosky’s Home Bakery on Pearl Road in Parma Heights which featured an impressive line of people waiting to get in to buy their paczki.
To be sure, each confectionery had its patrons thus proving that even though the innards might be similar, paczki have the potential to be distinctive depending on the personal style of the pastry maker as well as her/his care, devotion, love.