In case you didn't know yet, it's Paczki season. The Polish celebration of Fat Tuesday is the last chance to indulge before the fasting days of Lent, and that's where the Paczki comes in.

The Polish tradition of indulging in fried dough filled with jams, custards or other sweet surprises dates back to the Middle Ages. In those days, Lent meant that meat and meat by-products, like butter and eggs, couldn't be eaten during that time. So inventive cooks in Poland used up all their dairy and eggs during the week prior and made  crepe-like pancakes and doughnuts called paczki (POHNCH-kee). Because of it's roots in Poland,  North American communities particularly in the large Polish communities of Chicago, Detroit, and other large cities across the Midwest and Northeast, Paczki Day is a staple celebration.

Those little Polish jelly donuts that delight us so much  pack 400-500 calories and 25g of fat into a sugar-coated yummy hockey puck. With delicious flavors such as apricot, raspberry, prune and custard and the gourmet fillings like fresh strawberries and whipped cream, it's hard not to indulge.

Last year a Michigan-based brewery in Grand Rapids took Fat Tuesday to a new level. Brewery Vivant had its own Fat Tuesday tradition in the form of Fat Paczki, an annually released amber ale brewed with dried prunes and powdered sugar.

If you plan on throwing caution to the wind and calories aside, make sure to order yours early so you're guaranteed to score your favorite flavors. You can start your diet again on Wednesday.



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