Pączki Day, which falls on March 1, is a Polish celebration of gluttony preceding Lent. A pączek — the singular of “pączki” — is “a dough ball with sugar on it and jelly inside,” explains local historian Dominic Pącyga. Filled with raspberry, blueberry, plum, or custard, pączki pack up to 410 calories and 24 grams of fat apiece.

But how do you pronounce this pastry’s name? There are as many answers as there are flavors.

“POANCH-key,” according to a (Polish) woman who answered the phone at Andy’s Deli (5442 N. Milwaukee Ave.).

“POTCH-key,” said Emmi Garnier, who works at Delightful Pastries (5927 W. Lawrence Ave.).

“PUNCH-key ”was the verdict of Maria Obrzut at Kolatek’s Bakery & Deli (2445 N. Harlem Ave.).

To settle the issue, we called the Tadeusz Kosciuszko School of Polish Language in Norwood Park.

“It’s POANCH-key,” asserted instructor Urszula Gawlik.

When ordering pączki, any way you say it seems to work. But to hear it pronounced properly, go to Andy’s.

Related Content