Toledo's passion for paczki traced back to north Toledo's Polish Village

Toledo's passion for paczki traced back to north Toledo's Polish Village

TOLEDO, OH (WTOL) - You don't have to be Polish to appreciate a great paczki.

The popular pastry can be found in lots of Toledo-area stores and bakeries.

But to discover the real deal you have to go to the Polish Village where the local paczki craze began.

"They're fattening," is how Phil Anello describes his paczki fix.

Often imitated but never duplicated, 1800 dozen paczki will be sold between Sunday and Fat Tuesday on Lagrange St.

Custard and lemon are the most popular flavors from which to choose.

"They're fresh made. Come down here every year," said Shelly Anello.

It all started in 1990 when the group One Village Council teamed up with the former Meinke Bakery in the Polish Village to sell paczki as a fundraiser.

Profits are invested by the council back into the neighborhood for improvements such as home and landscape repairs.

"It's going good. I think better days are upon us. Neighborhood has seen better days. But I think better days are coming now," said Alfonso Narvaez of the council.

Local grocery stores and bakeries try to copy the paczki as Lent approaches.

They can't, and that's what sends folks here on a fattening, feeding frenzy.

"I don't like them at Wal-Mart or wherever," said Tony Deleon.

So what exactly sets these original paczki apart from the imitators?

There's no secret.

It's all in the filling.

"It's a little thicker, dense jelly. So it's more traditional than what you get at the grocery stores," said Sherry Walker of the council.

The paczki sale continues from 8 a.m. until 6 p.m. on Monday and until 3 p.m. on Tuesday at the Zablocki Senior Center at LaGrange Street and Central Avenue.

Cost is $14.00 for a dozen and $7.00 for a half dozen.

You can also mix and match an order.

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