The Polish Doughnut (Warsaw Insider, September 2011)
Isn’t a pączek just a jelly doughnut? Ask a question like that to a pączek snob and you could be subjected to a tongue-lashing about how much more superior the Polish version is. Though pączki (plural of pączek) are not highbrow nosh, you can really win the hearts and minds of your local hosts by professing unbridled love for these dowdily glazed calorie bombs filled with fruit marmalade. Fat Thursday (Tłusty Czwartek), the last Thursday before Lent (usually in February or March), is celebrated with pączki over-loading. During the rest of the year, the demand doesn’t relent judging by the constant queues outside Pawłowice, a pokey setup where all the goodies are made onsite. They open at 9am and it’s not unusual that the sweets are sold out by 6pm. The family-run Pracownia Cukiernicza also makes its goods fresh and onsite. It’s located outside the centre, but if you’re here for the long haul, do check out this minimalistic (as in the style dating from the commie days) pączek-specialty store. Blikle’s, a since 1869 family-run cake business, is commonly believed to have the definitive pączki. This café is also a must-do pit stop for every foodie visiting Warsaw.