It's getting to be that special time of the year in Michigan! I was in Grand Rapids at Family Fare recently when I spotted my first fully-stocked pączki display of the season in the bakery.

I look forward to seeing those iconic red boxes popping in grocery stores each year in anticipation of Fat Tuesday and the Lenten season. It seems like most Michiganders go for flavors like strawberry, apple, cherry, or custard but what's the best pączki flavor and why is it prune? Let me explain.

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What's a Pączki?

A Polish tradition pączki, pronounced "poonch-key", are essentially donuts. Although these fried pieces of dough look and taste similar to donuts they differ in that pączki are made from an especially rich dough of eggs, fat, and sugar. I didn't know it was possible to make such an unhealthy snack even more unhealthy, but here we are!

When is Pączki season?

I typically associate pączki with Fat Tuesday a.k.a. Mardi Gras (Feb. 21) but in Poland it's tradition to consume your pączki on Fat Thursday (Feb. 16) which is, "the last Thursday prior to Ash Wednesday and the beginning of Lent."

Prune Pączki

Don't get me wrong I like filling flavors like strawberry and cherry just fine, but I'm a prune girl through and through! I can't think of any other foods where prune is my preferred flavor, but I always make an exception for pączki.

What happens is I always forget it's pączki season until the boxes practically smack me in the face. By the time I realize that pączki are here, they've essentially sold out and the only flavor that's left? Prune. After years and years of being late to the pączki party, I've grown to love the dried plum in all its pruney goodness.

Lauren G/TSM
Lauren G/TSM

Where to Find Pączki

As I mentioned, I spotted my first pączki of the season at Family Fare stores in Grand Rapids. Although we don't have as many locations in Southwest Michigan, there are Family Fare grocery stores in nearby Vicksburg, Paw Paw, and Battle Creek.

No doubt pączki will soon flood major stores like Meijer and Walmart. You'll also be able to find them at local shops like Sweetwater's and Sarkozy Bakery.

Which is the best pączki filling flavor-- in your opinion?

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