"I'm so happy today. I'm going to be so paczkied out," Stephanie Smith-Howard said as she grabbed her box of powdered sugar-covered, jelly-filled pastries at Lovin Oven Cakery on Paczki Day.
More than 9,000 paczki were expected to be sold at the Libertyville store on Fat Tuesday.
"It's a little hectic but a lot of fun. You get to brighten everybody's day. See them bite into that paczki and get powdered sugar all over their noses," store manager Celina Campuzano said as she powdered the rich pastries. "It's been busy all day with a line out the door."
Paczki were created in Poland during the Middle Ages to use up all the lard, sugar, eggs and fruit in the house before the start of Lent.
The Polish cakes are similar to jelly doughnuts but are made from especially rich dough. They feature fruit and crème fillings and are covered in powdered sugar or a sugar glaze.
In Poland, paczki are eaten especially on Fat Thursday, the last Thursday before Ash Wednesday. In Chicago, with its sizable Polish community, the tradition is observed on Fat Thursday and Fat Tuesday, as well as on Casimir Pulaski Day.
The customers at Lovin Oven were excited and eager to receive their boxes of raspberry-, lemon-, chocolate- and blueberry-filled paczki.
"This is my first time. I decided to get a paczki today. I've had them before but never knew where to get them," said Sharon Brock of Vernon Hills. "It's great. I love the crèmes and I love the jellies. I was raised on bismarks, but this is way different."
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