We’ve got that Thursday feeling! Falling this year on February 16th, there can be few days in Poland more deeply cherished than Tłusty Czwartek…
Rooted in Poland’s devoutly religious psyche, historically-speaking the last Thursday before the Lent holiday was traditionally a day on which worshippers would feast on goodies that would otherwise be shunned during this solemn period of fasting. As the years went by, that came to mean one thing alone: the donut.
Now bordering on mania, Fat Thursday sees the consumption of over 100 million donuts nationwide, with immense, unwieldy queues forming before daybreak at the best-known bakeries and sweet stores.
In Warsaw’s case, that means Zagoździński, a family-run establishment that’s been doing business since 1925. Wrapped in waxy paper and tied together with a string, it’s the donuts from legendary venues such as this that go the quickest, with demand so high that limits are often enforced strictly rationing how many individuals can buy.
Bridging the past with the present, these old school refuges provide a glorious glimpse into the past (right down to their surly and occasionally hostile service), yet they’ve faced increasing competition from a fresh crop of newbies that have more in-line with the Western-style donuts so beloved by Chief Wiggum. Whichever you prefer, Warsaw won’t let you down.
Kukułka’s desserts have lifted Warsaw in a heavenly direction – literally in the case of their Angel Wings. The donuts include both traditional and I-didn’t-expect-that fillings (passion fruit!), and don’t dare leave without their signature cream puffs.
Lisowska 23, Chmielna 23, Rozbrat 22/24, Walecznych 29, Mokotowska 52A
Though their origins date to 1946, the individualized, uber-cool interiors and modern desserts make Lukullus a shoe-in for our New Wave shortlist. Using rose jam as their filling, the donuts are a nod to the roots of this well-respected operation.
Oleandrów 8 & Paryska 27
Award-winning NYC-style donuts that transpire to be things of craft, adventure and irresistible taste. All the better for ignoring chemical nasties and mass-market shortcuts, the playful nature of MOD’s non-standard offerings is expressed via all-natural, boldly-colored toppings such as matcha, mango, black forest gateau, salted caramel or hibiscus. We LOVE it!
Revered by traditionalists, the queue on Tłusty Czwartek snakes as far as the eye can see. Be patient to see why.
Existing since 1937, this cult venue chooses to decorate its donuts with orange peel and pipe them full of plum jam. The results transcend description. Visit!
Nowy Świat 28
Born in Szczecin in 1989, Stara Pączkarnia has since blossomed into a nationwide chain. Served through a hatch, find their Warsaw sales point dealing an array of tastes that include rebel fillings such as pineapple, Advocaat or Bounty.
Though less than ten years old, the aesthetic conjures images of Warsaw’s upmarket, inter-war confectionaries. The traditionally angled desserts – donuts included – are unimpeachable.
Suppliers to none other than Marshal Józef Piłsudski! Founded in 1925, and side-stepping modern innovation and artificial nasties, it’s by far the most famous pączek in Poland – no kidding, queues stretch around the block!