Wacky paçzki flavors and demand hype Fat Tuesday sales

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Two college students, each with a box of paczki

Melanie Soverinsky

Michigan State University juniors Dominic Serra and Nick Ardelean with their paçzki at Quality Dairy.

East Lansing bakeries look forward each year to the sales that to paczki day brings.

Paçzki can be found at stores including Quality Dairy, Groovy Donuts and Strange Matter Coffee. They can also be found at larger chains such as Meijer and Kroger. 

Quality Dairy store manager Phillip Platte said, “We sell paçzki at all 27 of our stores here in the Lansing area. This year, sales are up considerably versus last year, but we’re still down from years before the pandemic.”

Quality Dairy offers 14 flavors including two newer ones, death by chocolate and key lime pie. Quality Dairy put on a Facebook contest last year where customers could submit ideas for new paczki flavors. 

Platte said, “we put an open-ended question on all of our social media platforms and asked customers what they would want to see in terms of flavors,” Platte said. “Once we tallied up all the different responses, death by chocolate won and strawberry cheesecake was the runner up, so we made both of those last year. Key lime pie had a strong showing as well, so we decided to try that one out for this year.”

Due to the close proximity of Quality Dairy stores to campus, students pick them up between classes. 

“Usually my family will get paczkis on Fat Tuesday,” said junior Dominic Serra. FatTuesday is the day before the Ash Wednesday, the start of Lent, which culminates in Easter. “I’m half Polish-Ukrainian, so it’s a big tradition on my mom’s side of the family. We usually get them for breakfast before the start of Lent.”

Even Gov. Gretchen Whitmer got a piece of the Polish pastries by declaring March 1, 2022, as Michigan “Paçzki Day.” Her proclamation described the Polish pastries as “made with a rich, sweet yeast dough, filled with jams, preserves, or custards, and topped with a light dusting of sugar — that have captivated the hearts and stomachs of people across Michigan and the nation.” The proclamation gives a nod to Michigan’s traditionally Polish City of Hamtramck.

Strange Matter Coffee carries paçzki, but they aren’t in stock for long. On Tuesday, they sold out in two hours.

“We have sold paçzki every year our bakery has been open (since 2018) for a few days leading up to Fat Tuesday,” said founder and Chief Engineer Cara Nader said. “Our bakery is expanding, and the new expansion should be open within 6 months or so. Hopefully next year we’ll better be able to meet paçzki demand, but honestly, paçzki demand is just wacky. I’m not sure we’ll ever be able to make enough to meet the demand, no matter how large our bakery is.”

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