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A to Z Texas: K is for Kolaches

Cute toddler in a traditional Czech costume (photo by Tui Snider)
Cute toddler in a traditional Czech costume (photo by Tui Snider)

What is a Kolache?

Kolaches are a Czech pastry consisting of a light sweet dough filled with fruit that immigrants introduced to Texas when they settled here in the 1850’s. The word kolache comes from kolae, which is the Czech word for, “cake.” While traditional kolaches are filled with fruit and jam, the Texan style pastry includes savory, meat-filled versions, too.

Texans love kolaches (photo by Tui Snider)
Texans love kolaches (photo by Tui Snider)

Where is the Kolache Capital of Texas?

You wouldn’t think a pastry could inspire a controversy, but that’s exactly what happened with Kolaches here in Texas. While it hasn’t yet come to fisitcuffs, the towns of Caldwell and West both claim to be the Kolache capital of Texas.

As proof, Caldwell throws a big Caldwell Kolache Festival every September.

West, on the other hand, took the legal route by going through the state legislature and having itself officially appoihnted the Home of the Official Texas State Kolache.

Which side am I on in this debate?

In my opinion, when it comes to pastries, the more the merrier. So I was happy to learn that there are other kolache festivals in Texas, including:

Kolache Festival in Bernhard, Texas

Hallettsville, Texas Kolache Festival

Duffey's Kolache Bakery in Fort Worth, Texas (photo by Tui Snider)
Duffey's Kolache Bakery in Fort Worth, Texas (photo by Tui Snider)

Regional Baked Goods

I recently tried kolaches for the first time, y’know, for research purposes! ;p What sorts of baked goods do they eat where you live? Have you fallen in love with another country’s pastries?

More A to Z blog posts

This was my post for the letter J of the A to Z blogging challenge. Tune in tomorrow to see what quirky Texan thing the letter K will bring!

In the meantime, click on this link to find out what other A to Z blogging challenge folks are writing about.

Tui Snider
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Published inTravel Photo Essays

23 Comments

  1. Oh my, my tummy is looking for Kolache, now let me have some! And, now I know that the Czeck word for cake is Kolae, thank you for this information and thanks for making me starve now :)

    • mentalmosaic mentalmosaic

      Hi Adelle,

      So, you’re a kolache fan, I take it? Hope there’s a good bakery nearby for you!

      ~Tui

  2. Margaret Almon Margaret Almon

    In the Lehigh Valley near Bethlehem, PA, there is a Eastern European pastry called Kiffles, made with a cream cheese dough and wrapped around fillings like apricot, walnut, and raspberry.

    • mentalmosaic mentalmosaic

      Hi Margaret,

      Kiffles, eh? What a cute name! They sound really yummy.

      Thanks for stopping by!

      ~Tui

  3. YUMMMMM. I love these bits of awesomeness and now my stomach is growling and I want to drive to Rick’s Bakery in Fayetteville, AR and grab a giant box of these. Here in Arkansas, they look more like a pig-in-a-blanket and may not even be true Kolaches but that what we call them and they are scrumptious. I’m going to have to plan a trip to one of these festivals.

    • mentalmosaic mentalmosaic

      Hi Julie,

      I may just have to sample a few more Kolaches from different parts of the south, y’know, for research purposes, of course!

      Thank you for visiting!

      ~Tui

  4. Kalacs! :) Fank. We have that pastry in Hungary too :)

    • mentalmosaic mentalmosaic

      Hi Tarkabarka,

      Wow – I didn’t realize how many variations there were on this pastry theme!

      Thanks for dropping by!

      ~Tui

    • mentalmosaic mentalmosaic

      Hi Rosalind,

      They really were. We ate them all immediately! :)

      ~Tui

  5. I wish wish wish kolaches were on the wedding diet plan. My favorite are plain sausage or jalapeño and sausage. You’re really tearing up all the important things about Texas with the challenge…I love it. Also I’m hungry! :)

    • mentalmosaic mentalmosaic

      Hi Charlie,

      I know what you mean! Kolaches aren’t really on my diet plan, but I had to research the post, y’know? I even went out and had a chicken fried steak a couple days ago because I felt bad for not really knowing what I was writing about.

      I’m having so much fun writing about all the little tidbits of Texas. It really is the same to me as living in another country. There’s so much history and culture to explore.

      Thanks for commenting!

      ~Tui

  6. Weikel’s Bakery in La Grange makes some of the best kolaches around. When we lived in NYC, I fell in love with Italian pastries. They are still near and dear to my heart. I also have a fondness for Tres Leches cake :)

    • mentalmosaic mentalmosaic

      Hi Carol,

      Y’know, I have not tried Tres Leches cake. Oh, my… You’ve sent me on another quest – thank you! :)

      ~Tui

  7. Nicole Rivera Nicole Rivera

    I am laughing over here. I feel I am learning more about Texas than my own hometown! I don’t know what “regional pastry” we eat. I think I can’t see the forest for the trees! I am definitely curious about what a kolache tastes like, though. I wonder if they’ll taste as good if they are made gluten-free (or if anyone has bothered!).

    • mentalmosaic mentalmosaic

      Hi Nicole,

      A gluten free Kolache recipe – that’s a great idea!

      Yeah, it would probably be harder for me to notice all the nifty things about Texas if I had grown up here.

      As far as a regional pastry for you… bagels, perhaps?

      Thanks for visiting!

      ~Tui

      • Nicole Rivera Nicole Rivera

        Bagels! Of course! I also saw another commenter mention Italian pastries. I can’t imagine a world without Italian bakeries, but I guess, outside of New York, that might be the sad reality :(

        • mentalmosaic mentalmosaic

          Hi Nicole,

          Unless, of course, you go to Italy, itself!

          One thing I love about visiting my in-laws on Long Island is seeing the tremendous southern Italian influence in the bakeries and grocery stores. I’m always wishing I could beam their local grocery store down here to Texas.

          ~Tui

          • Nicole Rivera Nicole Rivera

            Without those influences, I would have a really hard time putting dinner on the table XD

    • mentalmosaic mentalmosaic

      Thank you, Sonia!

      I’m having so much fun researching all these Texas tidbits. I’ve got some good ones lined up!

      Thank you for visiting. :)

      ~Tui

    • mentalmosaic mentalmosaic

      Hi Patricia,

      Yeah – I’m kinda bummed now. The kolaches are all gone!

      Thanks for dropping by!

      ~Tui

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