Windsor·ASK CBC WINDSOR

Why is Windsor obsessed with paczki and no other Canadian cities are?

One of the biggest shocks to John Trant, coming from somewhere as close as London was Windsor's attachment to paczki. Valerie Blak Gail, owner of Blak's Bakery gave us the answer.

Paczkis come from Polish Catholics who give up sweets for Lent

A tower of iconic white and red paczki boxes at Blak's Bakery waits to be filled with delicious pastries on Feb. 28, 2019 (Colin Cote-Paulette/CBC)

Ask CBC Windsor: It's a new series, brought to you by Windsor Morning and it's looking at all the things there are to know about the city.

We're taking questions from Windsorites — whether you've been here for a few weeks, a few years or for decades.

John Trant, assistant professor at the University of Windsor, moved to town about three years ago.

One of the biggest shocks to Trant — coming from somewhere as close as London — was Windsor's attachment to paczki. Valerie Blak Gail, owner of Blak's Bakery gave us the answer.

Why is Windsor obsessed with paczki and no other Canadian cities are?

3 years ago
Duration 1:13
One of the biggest shocks to John Trant, coming from somewhere as close as London was Windsor's attachment to paczki. Valerie Blak Gail, owner of Blak's Bakery gave us the answer.

JOHN: Why is this such a thing? Why does Windsor do this and no one else does this anywhere else in Canada?

VALERIE: We always made paczkis. My grandfather brought the recipe over from Poland so we've always made them. A broadcaster on WJR called J.P McCarthy and he really promoted paczki day. Then there was a gentleman at Farmer Jack's and they got into the paczkis. Windsor being so close to Detroit, they just got more and more popular and we just kind of got into it. We got on the coattails, it was just an extent of making more of them. 

We now make eight flavours. It's all based on Polish tradition. For Polish Catholics they give up all sweets for lent, so it's to use up all the butters and shortenings and fillings — anything sweet in the house. You feast on it, eat as many as you can. It will be 40 days before you can have another! 

Paczki Day next year is Feb. 25. 

Do you have questions about Windsor? Are you looking for answers about YQG? Drop us a line via email and we might put your question to a Windsor expert. 

Comments

To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.

Become a CBC Member

Join the conversation  Create account

Already have an account?

now