Put on some loose clothes – tomorrow is Fat Thursday! The only day of the year when everybody in Poland forgets about their diet and nobody feels guilty while stuffing themselves with delicious and very special kind of pastry.
Fat Thursday is the beginning of the last weekend of the Carnival before the 40 day long Lent begins. So, clearly it’s your last chance not only to party, but to treat yourself with something good.
The hero of the day is pączek [pronounce: pawn-check; plural: pączki pronounce: pawn-ch-kee]. Being one of the oldest Polish desserts, it was known already in the 16th century. It is a deep-fried piece of dough similar to a doughnut or Berliner Pfannkuchen. It is covered with powdered sugar, icing or bits of dried orange zest and it has a sweet filling. The most traditional filling would be rose hip jam, but nowadays you can get pączki in wide range of flavors including Advocaat or cream cheese.
Bad news: pączki are deep fried and the average pączek has around 244 kcal. Good news: eating at least one pączek on Fat Thursday guarantees luck in the coming year. Be aware: if you don’t eat one, bad luck will chase you!
That is why on Fat Thursday you will see plenty of pączki peddlers and long queues in front of the famous bakeries offering the best doughnuts. No wonder: on Fat Thursday your average Pole eats 2.5 pączki. Over 100 million pączki are sold on this day alone!
Where to try the best pączki in Warsaw? Here are couple of recommendations:
Cukiernia Pawłowicz (Chmielna 13)
Grab & go type of place. Right in the city centre. Locals love it!
Blikle Cafe (Nowy Świat 35)
One of the oldest family run pastry shops in the city. Order a pączek, a cup of tea, and gaze through the window at the bustling street. Nice place to warm up after one of Orange Umbrella Free Tours. 😉
Stara Pączkarnia (Nowy Świat 28)
Anybody who is up for experiments will love this take away place. They offer pączki in more then 30 flavours! It’s difficult to settle on just one!
Are you vegan? No problem, in these places you can try the vegan version of the famous pączek:
- Green Bar (Szpitalna 6)
- Krowarzywa ( Hoża 29/31 and Marszałkowska 27/35)
- Vegemiasto (aleja “Solidarności” 60A)
Looking for gluten free? There are options for you as well:
one in the city center Vege Kiosk (Krucza 51)
and two outside the city center: Organic Corner Food Store Bistro (Chodkiewicza 8A) and Margita Gluten-free Products (Zbigniewa Romaszewskiego 6)