Tuesday, March 5 is Fat Tuesday, the day before the start of the Lenten season. It is the last day of indulgence for Catholics in preparation for the sacrifice of certain luxuries. For many Midwestern bakeries, Fat Tuesday is also known as Paczki Day, and it is one of the biggest days of the year. They prepare for the rush of customers who will grab these special treats during the final hours before Ash Wednesday.

Many Polish immigrants settled in the Midwest and brought with them paczki, donut-like treats typically filled with custard or jelly. Over time, these pastries have earned a reputation as an important part of the Lenten season. 

Detroit and its suburbs is one of the most popular paczki areas in the country. In Hamtramck, you'll find New Palace Bakery. This European bakery is located in an area known to be a vibrant center of Polish American life and culture. New Palace represents that well with its paczki selections. It has satisfied customers with its fusion of flavors, such as Peanut Butter & Jelly.

The bakery's new paczki additions for 2019 are the Triple Chocolate Paczki and the Birthday Cake Paczki. The Triple Chocolate flavor is chocolate-filled and topped with milk chocolate and chocolate chips, while the Birthday Cake flavor features buttercream, yellow cake, and rainbow sprinkles.

Moving South, Chicago is another classic paczki area. Bakeries like Delightful Pastries have made their mark with unique flavors. Delightful Pastries' Drunken Pastries feature boozy fillings, such as a Jameson Irish Whiskey-spiked chocolate custard and a lemon moonshine version.

Some bakeries throw parties to celebrate the special pastry. Paczki Day is important to Cleveland, Ohio culture, which is why Rudy's Strudel hosts an annual party on that day. Rudy's will offer over 30 flavors of paczki during the March 5 celebration, including its newest addition. The Sweet Moses Hot Chocolate is a collaboration with old-fashioned soda fountain and treats shop Sweet Moses, and it transforms the shop's 1911 hot chocolate recipe into a chocolate custard topped with hand whipped marshmallow.

In addition to the new paczki flavor, Rudy's will also have a balloon drop, a DJ, polka music, polka dance instructors, brewers from the Brick and Barrel, stands from Tea Lab and Sweet Moses, pierogi food trucks, raffles, trivia contests, and a paczki eating contest.