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Fatten up on Fat Tuesday: Paczki, fasnachts and king cakes

Licking the last of our Valentine’s pastry heart from our fingers we are on to the next seasonal treat.

Just in time, here comes Feb. 28 — Fat Tuesday.

Grounded in religion and known as Shrove Tuesday, Fat Tuesday is last day of indulgence before Lent begins on Ash Wednesday.

Delicious Shrove Tuesday traditions — Polish paczki (black raspberry filled doughnuts), German/Pennsylvania Dutch fasnachts (a flat version of a doughnut) and French/New Orleans king cakes — have made their way into our culture, so why not indulge?

The Broadway Market (999 Broadway, will celebrate Paczki Day from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. with paczki from Mazurek’s, White Eagle and Chrusciki Bakery. Enjoy traditional Polish music from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Amy Smardz will host “Tradition of Paczki” at noon.

[RELATED: Get ready for Paczki Day in Lancaster]

Paula’s Donuts (three locations, will sell traditional black raspberry paczki along with lemon and Bavarian versions only on Fat Tuesday.

Owner Paula Huber said the difference is the dough, which gets a lot of added ingredients like more eggs to create a super rich doughnut that gets overfilled, too. "Make sure you have lots of napkins because it will drip all over the place," Huber said.

Fasnachts will be available starting Ash Wednesday (March 1) through the Saturday before Easter (Paula's is closed Easter Sunday). Fasnachts have an interesting history themselves. German for “fast night,” fasnachts were made as a way to empty out the pantry of lard, sugar and butter — items forbidden during Lenten fasting.

Paula's will offer powdered sugar, powdered cinnamon sugar, granulated sugar, granulated cinnamon sugar, glazed and plain fasnachts.

Mazurek’s Bakery (543 South Park Ave., will sell paczki, fasnachts and king cakes — another Fat Tuesday treat.

Owner Ty Reynolds said he will take orders for the colorful cake (decorated purple, green and yellow) as long as people keep ordering them. Baked to celebrate the three kings, the king cake is a New Orleans tradition believed to have traveled to the United States from France.

According to tradition, the rich cake was baked with a bean to represent the baby Jesus. Modern versions, like Mazurek’s, include a small plastic baby. The person who receives a piece with the bean (or baby) will be the recipient of privileges and obligations. (Hmm, we know a few folks who could benefit from a king cake).

Mazurek’s will sell fasnachts through Lent. Paczki are available throughout the year on Friday and Saturdays, in addition to Fat Tuesday. (Reynolds notes the the black raspberry filling is seedless for those with dietary concerns.)

Owner Andrea Amodeo's Blackbird Sweets (1547 Hertel Ave., will also take orders for king cakes.

Other purveyors of the paczki include:

Donut Kraze, 406 Dingens St.; 365 Sommerville Ave., Tonawanda,

Eileen's Centerview Bakery, 465 Center Road, West Seneca,

Chrusciki Bakery, 999 Broadway (Broadway Market and other locations),

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