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Issue Date: February 2011

Sugar High

This Fat Tuesday, indulge in a Polish treat.
Elizabeth Brott

Before Lenten promises put a lock on the candy drawer, take a trip to the bakery. Ignore the éclairs and ask for paczki (poonch-key), traditional Polish Fat Tuesday treats loaded with so much fat, sugar and eggs, they need to be fried three times longer than regular doughnuts. "People wanted to use up the excess sugar and lard they had [before Lent]," explains Biagio's Donut Shop owner Joe Biagio of the pastry's origin. With fillings from traditional rose and apricot to American chocolate and marshmallow, we've got three spots to get your sweet fix.

The Contemporary

Biagio's Donut Shop and Pizzeria

The flavors here are modern and American: chocolate creme, apple, lemon, black raspberry and strawberry. "We don't skimp on the fillings," Biagio boasts. "I mean, they're messy; when you bite into one, you might get apple on your shirt." This Italian owner's oozing paczki have quite a following. They sold 3,480 paczki on Fat Tuesday last year. Expect a line out the door.
Price: $.99/each
Order Ahead? No

35475 Vine St., Eastlake, 440-942-5541

The Traditional

Seven Roses Deli

The Polish treats from this family-owned deli in Slavic Village are the real thing. "Everybody's got a special recipe," says owner Sophie Pyl. "This one came straight from Poland. And that's why we hear our paczki are the best." Longtime employee Marta Dudzinski hints the secret to the family recipe is a "special Polish flour," which makes them lighter than the typical doughy pastry. Come for traditional flavors plus a few innovations, such as lemon, custard, blueberry as well as marshmallow upon request.
Price: $.99/each
Order Ahead? Yes

6301 Fleet Ave., Cleveland, 216-641-5789

The Fun

Kiedrowski's Simply Delicious Bakery

Owner Tim Kiedrowski has turned paczki season into a festival. The Sunday before Fat Tuesday, he hosts the Paczki Ball, featuring polka dancing and Polish dishes, and people attend by the hundreds. The crowds find their way to Kiedrowski's door on Fat Tuesday as well, waiting patiently to the sound of live accordion music for one of five traditional varieties made from Kiedrowski's mother's recipe. Throughout paczki season last year, the bakery sold 48,000 individual pastries. What's behind the obsession? Check out the bakery's starring role in Army Armstrong's 2009 documentary Paczki: The Movie.
Price: $9/dozen
Order Ahead? No

2267 Cooper Foster Park Road, Amherst, 440-282-2700,
Wednesday, March 02, 2011 1:54:48 PM by Ann V.
What, no Stan's Northfield Bakery? I already have my order in for next Tuesday!

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