Paczki Day is March 1, and that is pretty much a statewide holiday in Michigan. It is a time when everyone, whether you’re going to celebrate the Catholic ritual of Lent or not, eats one of these caloric pastries.
Paczki are not donuts–they are beautiful baked goods that are made right before Lent begins so you can indulge in something rich and flavorful before going into a time of fasting and simpler meals, like soup alone. It is a great annual tradition where all Michiganders, regardless of faith, can brag about how many paczki they ate in a single day.
The pronunciation is as important as the food itself: PON-check or POONCH-kee if you’re eating through the whole box and need to know how to say the plural form of these sweet treats.
You can order them in advance, which is highly recommended if you want a certain flavor or if you’re buying enough for the office or a party. You can also order them by the box in a pre-arranged flavor combination. Finally, you can pick up paczki singularly to get a taste of everything a bakery may have to offer, which also is highly recommended.
One final warning: A lot of bakeries are understaffed this year, so be patient. Your paczki will be there waiting for you, and the staff are working as hard as they can to make sure you can get every flavor you want and need for Paczki Day.
Here are five well-known bakeries in Metro Detroit that are paczki experts.
There are people around Metro Detroit who make a special trip to Eastpointe to pay homage to this amazing bakery and its paczki. If you are lucky enough to get some, you might notice that they’re likely a bit bigger, fluffier and more filled than the others, so you may want to ensure you have at least one box from East Detroit Bakery on your table when you’re doing an all-important research project into this fine baked item.
This Hamtramck mainstay is known as the Paczki Headquarters for good reason. It has been family-owned and operated since 1908 and the bakery is a staple when it comes to paczki. It has lots of traditional flavors, such as custard, apple and strawberry. Its specialty paczki are even more fun with flavors including Centennial brew (new for 2022 to celebrate Hamtramck’s 100th anniversary), strawberry cheesecake, triple chocolate and peanut butter and jelly.
Take the time to drive out to Warren for this beloved bakery that carries eight varieties of paczki including apple, lemon, blueberry and chocolate custard. Its specialty paczki are cannoli-cream filled–which you must eat at least once in your life, as well as cappuccino cream.
Multiple locations in Warren, Royal Oak and Sterling Heights. Be forewarned: You may want to order ahead to get the flavors you want, but the Daily Dozen is only taking pre-orders of five dozen or more. If you want fewer (and why would you?) then you have to walk in on the day of sales to get your favorites.
Everyone knows this bakery in Hamtramck, and if you haven’t tried it yet, you need to beat feet to get there for Paczki Day. It is rumored that the New Martha Washington Bakery offers the best paczki in Metro Detroit, but you’ll only know that if you try every paczki in the area that day, a feat that everyone once in a while should try.