Detroit radio legend J.P. McCarthy can be credited with the popularity of paczkis. That's according to Valerie Blak-Gill, owner of Blak's Bakery on Langlois Avenue.
"He started really kind of pushing the whole paczki idea and the idea took off from there," she said. "That would have been about 30-plus years ago."
Whether or not McCarthy can be credited, the paczki's popularity has flourished. Blak's is only one of a few Windsor bakeries to make the fat-laden, fruit-filled pastries. How many, you ask? Thirty-five thousand. That's enough to treat every Leamington resident, and still have some to spare.
The super-sized doughnuts are a Polish tradition eaten on Shrove Tuesday, the day before the Christian Lenten fast.
"Everyone who's Polish knows what a paczki is," said Blak-Gill but adds, "Anybody can be Polish on Paczki Day."
Staff at the bakery were there in full force yesterday. With a regular staff of around 20, the store was abuzz with between 40 and 50 people throughout the day.
The store is celebrating its 100th anniversary this year.
Curious about other bakeries across Windsor-Essex that are ready to fill you paczki fix? Check out this handy guide from Tourism Windsor Essex Pelee Island.