Officially, Paczki Day is Tuesday, February 13 this year, but paczki season is already underway. In Poland, the sweet, filled doughnuts are traditionally eaten on the Thursday before Ash Wednesday, not the Tuesday, which in some corners of the city means that Paczki Day will fall on Thursday, February 8. Either way, many of the city’s bakeries are mixing and frying and filling, and the festivities will go on all weekend. For the record, paczki is pronounced “POONCH-key.” Or maybe “PAUNCH-key.” Or somewhere in between the two. But definitely not “PACK-zee.”
Bennison’s New World-style paczki come in seven traditional flavors (including cheese, chocolate custard, and prune) and four premium varieties (among them, banana cream and German chocolate). They’re already available for in-store purchase, and customers can order online through Saturday, February 17, by phone or via the suburban bakery’s website.
KD Market-Krystyna’s Deli
This Polish market with suburban locations in Schaumburg, Schiller Park, Mount Prospect, and Wheeling skews toward the traditional end of fillings with rosehip, plum butter, and raspberry. More modern choices like Nutella, vanilla pudding, and blackcurrant are also available. Place orders online for a minimum of a dozen before the deadline cutoff (Tuesday, February 6 for Fat Thursday or Sunday, February 11 for Fat Tuesday).
Delightful Pastries features paczki all year long, but ownership still steps things up for the holiday, some years making more than 50,000 for Fat Tuesday. There’s an assortment of flavors like custard, plum butter, and rose petal jelly, as well as gourmet options like a brand-new Dulce de Leche version. Grown-ups can also indulge in boozy submissions, dubbed “Drunken Paczki,” such as Jameson whiskey with chocolate custard or moonshine and lemon. Customers can place orders over the phone or online before Monday, February 5.
Kolatek’s Bakery & Deli
Stock up on a host of Polish and Eastern European goods at this West Side shop. Paczki range from standard flavors, like raspberry and cherry, to nontraditional fillings, such as rum, tiramisu, and limoncello. Customers can place orders over the phone, via Facebook message, and in person. There’s a second location in suburban Palatine.
These are just a few of the places you can pick up some great paczki. Check out the entire Eater list here.