Fat Tuesday? Nope, it’s Paczki Day: Here’s where to find the Polish treat

They’re *not* jelly doughnuts.

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Various paczki made at Delightful Pastries bakery in Jefferson Park. Tuesday, February 9th 2021.

Brian Rich/Sun-Times

While New Orleans celebrates Mardi Gras, Chicago has its own gluttonous February holiday— Paczki Day.

Also known as Fat Tuesday, Paczki Day marks the last day before the Lenten season begins for Christians. Because Lent is meant to be a time of fasting and prayer, many people spend the day before gorging themselves on, well, paczki (POONCH-key).

This year, Paczki Day falls on Feb. 16.

The Polish fried dough treats are similar to jelly doughnuts, but they’re *not* jelly doughnuts— they’re paczki. Unlike doughnuts, paczki dough is richer, and contains a bit of Polish vodka or other spirits. The treats are typically topped with either powdered sugar or glaze, and they’re filled with flavored cream, custard or jelly. Traditional flavors include wild rose jelly, raspberry and custard, but some shops serve inventive modern flavors like Irish whiskey.

Check out our map to see some of the bakeries across Chicago that will be frying up the Polish pastries on Tuesday. If you’re looking to get your hands on some, try calling ahead — many places sell out quickly!

Map not displaying? Click here.

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