It's Fat Thursday - Time For Polish Paczki

You can get the delicious Polish fried pastries with luscious fruit and custard fillings today and also Fat Tuesday. Here's where to find them.


Did you know there are actually two "paczki days"?

You may know the tradition of eating rich foods on Mardi Gras (Fat Tuesday in French), as a sendoff before the Christian Lenten fast begins on Ash Wednesday, which falls next Wednesday, Feb. 13.

France, Brazil, New Orleans, Italy and most places with a Mardi Gras tradition hold their festivities prior to, or culminating on, Fat Tuesday, which falls Feb. 12 this year.

However, the Polish custom is to feast the Thursday before Ash Wednesday--called Fat Thursday by Poles.

When asked to explain the difference between Fat Thursday and Fat Tuesday, Ola Makal, a salesperson at Oak Mill Bakery in Niles, said, "Fat Thursday is typically Polish. We celebrate Thursday. Fat Tuesday is usually celebrated by Americans."

She was expecting more Poles in the shop on Fat Thursday, when Poles eat the delectable desserts.

In Poland, people traditionally made paczki for Fat Thursday to use up the eggs, lard and sugar in the house, because they were traditionally not eaten during Lent, according to the Polish American Association.  Fat Thursday "is the last chance to party before Ash Wednesday, when Lent begins," the association says on it website.

Oak Mill Bakery will be selling paczki today (Thursday) from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. to benefit the Polish American Association, a non-profit organization which provides social services. 

Places to buy paczki today and next Tuesday:

  • Oak Mill Bakery, 8012 N. Milwaukee Avenue, Niles
  • 9328 N. Waukegan Road, Morton Grove
  • House of Cakes, 6189 N. Canfield, Chicago (across street from Park Ridge)

Know of other places that sell fresh paczki? Tell us in the comments, below. 

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Procrustes' Foil February 07, 2013 at 12:23 PM
Ah, Paczki Day! I have very fond memories of these wonderful pastries. Paczkis filled with wild-rose jam are a treasure - if you can find them.
Maria Toth February 07, 2013 at 04:07 PM
Check out Schlegl's Bakery & Cafe, 3915 W Touhy, Lincolnwood, for delicious paczki!
Golf Mill Shopping Center February 07, 2013 at 08:10 PM
Shop & Save Market in Niles sells fresh, delicious Paczki! Shop and Save Market is proud to make their Paczki the old fashion way, the way that many of our Chicago Polish Community remembers. The way that Polish Families would wait in line for hours for a chance to bring home the great tasting Paczki to their families. They Hand Make each Paczki the old fashioned way using Real Yeast Dough. You really need to Taste The Difference. Traditional fillings include Rosehip and Plum Butter as well as the Fat Tuesdays favorites of Bavarian Creme, Raspberries, Apricot, and Blueberry. All varieties are available daily.
Pam DeFiglio (Editor) February 07, 2013 at 08:15 PM
Thanks, Maria, it's always good to know about more bakeries.
Pam DeFiglio (Editor) February 07, 2013 at 08:19 PM
Thanks Angelika. I know Shop & Save caters to many Poles, so they should be very authentic!
Lois A. MacAdam February 12, 2013 at 06:06 AM
I have never heard of Fat Thursday. Great!!! Now we have two days to enjoy the Paczki. They are the very best when they are really fresh. And I'm not Polish.


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