Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Paczki Day 2014

In the Metro Detroit Area, Fat Tuesday is known to most as "Paczki Day."  The center of Paczki Day is a small city bordering Detroit named Hamtramck.  Hamtramck is named after a French Soldier, but the area was originally settled by German Farmers.  When the Auto Industry took off, Polish immigrants populated the area and brought their traditional Paczki with them.  They are similar to a jelly doughnut, but they aren't a jelly doughnut.  They are better!!! The dough has a lot more egg and fat, and they have different flavors specifically for Paczki Day.  

When I lived in Texas, the big thing there was "King Cakes" on Fat Tuesday.  They were decorated nicely but didn't taste that great, and for some reason had a plastic baby hidden somewhere in them.  My Mom would overnight a box of Paczki from Meijer to me each year, which was great.

When I lived in Florida, Publix actually stocked Paczki on Fat Tuesday!  They weren't good, but they happened.  The baker at Publix informed me that they received the Paczki frozen and cooked them there.

Publix Paczki - February 2011
When I moved back to Michigan last year, I knew that I had to have a real Hamtramck Paczki - something I had never actually experienced.  I checked out some reviews online and decided to go to New Palace Bakery.  I got lost on the way there and found myself on Evaline Street.  This sounded familiar to me, and I realized that I was on my Great Grandparent's Street.  (I recognized it from my family tree work with the Census.)  My family lived in Hamtramck for a few generations.  My Great Grandfather and Great Great Uncle were even police officers in the city.  Here is a picture of my Great Great Uncle in his Hamtramck Police Uniform, and some unidentified children from my family on Evaline Street.  My family was part of the first wave of German Farmers to the area.

Louis Haack - Hamtramck Police

Children on Evaline Street in Hamtramck

Back to the Paczki!  I got to New Palace a little after 7:00am and it was crazy.  I waited with a bunch of crazy, happy people in the cold for 2 hours for a box of Paczki.  There were news crews and photographers there. They were there from all over the place, including Hamtramck natives, and I really enjoyed hearing all of their stories about why they love Paczki.

Finally inside New Palace Bakery - Hamtramck Michigan - Paczki Day 2013

The Paczki were the best I have ever had.  They had so many flavors. It was worth the wait!  (Although, if I go again, I will go earlier and dress warmer.)  All of their flavors and baked goods can be found here: http://www.newpalacebakery.com/

New Palace Bakery Paczki - Hamtramck Michigan

This year, I wanted to try a Bakery a little closer to home and a little less crazy.  We decided to go to Elliott's Bakery in Downtown Trenton.  This place is exactly the same as it was when it opened, I would assume!  That is a good thing.  As children, we both have memories of going to Elliott's in the morning for doughnuts or cookies.  

Elliott's Bakery - Downtown Trenton Michigan
On their facebook page, you can see pictures of the bakers making these Paczki from scratch.  They had lemon, raspberry, and our favorite - custard!  They were great, and just the right size.  There was a steady stream of people coming in, but no big wait.

Paczki Day 2014 - Elliott's Bakery Trenton Michigan
Their case was filled with other cookies that all looked great!  I also love their pepperoni rolls.

Cookies at Elliott's Bakery - Trenton Michigan

Check out this local favorite for breakfast next time you come Downriver!

Enjoying some coffee and doughnuts at Elliott's Bakery - Trenton Michigan

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