By Kalea Hall
Today is the day to be a glutton.
It’s Mardi Gras, or Fat Tuesday, the day before Ash Wednesday, which kicks off the beginning of Lent.
It’s the day to celebrate one last time before giving up the sweets, fried foods or other slight addictions some may have.
Today, guests at Kravitz Deli will pack the calories on their plates with Polish pirogies and paczki and partake in the party.
“It’s our second-busiest day of the year,” Kravitz Deli owner Jack Kravitz said. “The star of the show are the paczki.”
In Poland, Paczki Day is the Thursday before Ash Wednesday, according to the Polish American Journal. But here in the U.S., Paczki Day is today.
Paczki are basically filled doughnuts.
Legend has it that these doughnuts have a splash of Polish vodka in the dough.
“It’s a very rich doughnut,” Kravtiz said.
Kravitz has 265 dozen paczki coming in from the Polish bakery Kiedrowski’s in Cleveland.
Pastry fillings rather than a doughnut fillings are used for paczki, Kravitz explained.
The four Kravitz locations in Liberty, Fellows Riverside Gardens in Youngstown, the Poland Library and Canfield Library will have six flavors of paczki today: unfilled, custard, lekvar or plum, poppyseed, apricot and rose hip.
“They do not sell custard in Cleveland,” Kravitz said. “They make them special for us.”
Custard is the No. 1 seller for Kravitz. He started the Fat Tuesday celebration five years ago.
“We go all out,” he said. “We work with Polish Youngstown, and they help us make the party.”
In addition to the Polish food, paczki and Polish beer and vodka, Kravitz will have a traveling polka road show going to all of the locations at various times of the day.
Local Dunkin Donuts’ locations are celebrating Fat Tuesday with paczki sales for the first time.
“We are trying to bring more attention back to the bakery part of the business,” said Caleb Watters, director of operations for 10 Dunkin’ Donuts locations in Mahoning and Trumbull counties. “Fat Tuesday is the biggest doughnut day of the year.”
Participating Dunkin’ locations will have three flavors available: raspberry, Bavarian and lemon. Most will be covered in powdered sugar, but some will have glaze.
“We have planned to do 100 dozen,” Watters said.