In some places Fat Tuesday is also known as Mardi Gras, but here in Michigan, it is more widely nicknamed Paczki Day. Once common only in the Detroit area, particularly in Hamtramck, the tradition has caught on around the state, and this year will be celebrated on February 16. Place orders in advance, or risk standing in long lines at bakeries the day of, which is especially something to avoid this year.
Similar to doughnuts, paczki became popular around Ash Wednesday because Polish Catholics used to eat them as a last decadence before giving up sweet treats and other indulgences in observation of Lent.
The deep-fried dough was traditionally filled with plum (prune) or rose hip jam. Now, you more commonly find them in apple, cherry, blueberry, strawberry, lemon, and other fruity versions. Many have custard flavors instead of jam, and more recently cheese has even become a filling alternative. While you can often find them in grocery stores, we highly recommend patronizing a local bakery instead. Not only are you more likely to get a fresh-baked array of choices, but you can support a small independent business, that has likely been struggling this year. Here are some locations worth checking out if you wish to partake.
Chene Modern Bakery – Detroit
Donut Cutter – Berkley
Family Donut Shop – Hamtramck
Knapp’s Donut Shop – Rochester or Troy
The Looney Baker – Livonia
New Palace Bakery – Hamtramck
New Martha Washington Bakery – Hamtramck
Paris Bakery – Livonia
Sugarr Donuts – Woodhaven
Tringali’s Bakery – Warren
Huron Mountain Bakery – Ishpeming and Marquette