Pronounced PUNCH-key, these Polish delights are deep-fried doughnuts filled with jelly and dusted with powdered sugar.
They are ethnic eats made and devoured the day before Ash Wednesday as a way to use up all of the fat, sugar, and fruit that is forbidden to be consumed during Lent.
The fillings range from fruits like lemon, cherry, prune, plum and raspberry, to flavored custard.
To learn the history of paczki, follow the link below.
Paczki is the plural of the Polish word "paczek," meaning package.
Paczki Day in Greater Cleveland takes on a life of its own. Traditional paczki can be bought early in the morning in Slavic Village bakeries but even mainstream grocery stores, like Giant Eagle and Heinen's, pack their bakery departments with paczki.
Over at Colozza's Bakery, 5880 Ridge Road. in Parma, they make and sell 14,000 to 15,000 paczki during this time each year.
In Amherst, go to Kiedrowski's Simply Delicious Bakery, 2261 Cooper Foster Park Road for paczki.
You will have to get up before dawn to get paczki in Cleveland at Seven Roses Deli, 6301 Fleet Ave., or Gertrude Bakery, 6506 Gertrude Ave., both in Slavic Village.
So, where's Slavic Village, you ask?
Slavic Village is just south of downtown Cleveland, off Interstate 77 and Fleet Avenue.
It was first home to Czech and Polish immigrants who came to Cleveland to work in the steel and woolen factories here.