Krakow celebrates “Fat Thursday” holiday

The Polish doughnut, also known as the “paczek,” is not to be taken lightly in terms of caloric intake, or its significance for Catholics on Fat Thursday.

Eating the paczek signifies the rapidly approaching Lent holiday in the Catholic calendar.

This deep-fried, sphere-shaped pastry filled with rose bud or plum marmalade and covered with powdered sugar or icing is traditionally eaten on Fat Thursday, the last Thursday every year before Ash Wednesday.

Krakow’s fifth annual Doughnut Eating Contest was held at the historic Wierzynek restaurant on Fat Thursday.
Wierzynek and Gazeta Krakowska were the hosts of the eating fanfare, where 12 contestants stepped up to a plate full of doughnuts with the goal to consume as many as possible within 5 minutes.

Tomasz Ibek was this year’s victor with 11 doughnuts, beating two-time champion Marek Ungar.
After the contest, journalists and officials from Krakow and the region were invited to participate in a mock event. This time around, the participants were only given one minute to consume as many doughnuts as possible.

The jury at the contest also announced the winner for Best Paczek 2008. Judging took place at Cafe Camelot on ul. sw. Tomasza.
According to judges, this year’s best doughnut was baked at the Michalek Bakery on ul. Krupnicza 8.

Gazeta Krakowska reported that the paczek from Michalek Bakery received 47.5 points for quality, class and simplicity. Second place went to last year’s winner Starowicz Bakery on ul. Stradomska 7.

The festivities marked the beginning of the last days before Lent. Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of Lent and continues for 40 days until Easter Sunday, one of most significant holidays in the Catholic faith.

Every Pole must consume at least one doughnut on Fat Thursday, or he or she will have bad luck for the entire year, as superstition goes. On average, Poles consume 2.5 doughnuts each on Fat Thursday, at approximately 200 calories apiece.

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