Paczki Day in Pure Michigan

Tomorrow, Americans celebrate Paczki Day (aka “Fat Tuesday”), where many will indulge in the traditional polish pastry. In Michigan – and Hamtramck specifically – the celebration is especially vibrant. In fact, Hamtramck says they are the “home of the original Pączki – everything else is just a jelly donut!”

To learn more about paczki (pronounced pooonch-key), our friends at the Polish Art Center in Hamtramck shared some fun facts with us.  

  • In Poland, paczki are eaten especially on Fat Thursday (the last Thursday before Ash Wednesday). This year it was February 7th.
  • Polish Americans celebrate Paczki Day on Fat Tuesday (the day before Ash Wednesday). This year it is tomorrow, February 12th.
  • Hamtramckans start celebrating on Saturday between the two with a Countdown to Paczki Day Festival. This year’s celebrations began this past weekend.
  • Traditionally, the reason for making paczki was to use up all the lard, sugar, eggs and fruit in the house, because they were forbidden to be consumed due to Catholic fasting practices during Lent.
  • Paczki have been known in Poland at least since the Middle Ages.  During the reign of August III, under the influence of French cooks who came to Poland, paczki dough was improved, so that paczki became lighter, spongier, and more resilient.
  • Paczki are usually covered with powdered sugar, icing or bits of dried orange zest. A small amount of grain alcohol (traditionally, Spiritus) is added to the dough before cooking; as it evaporates, it prevents the absorption of oil deep into the dough.

To learn about the Polish Art Center in Hamtramck, visit michigan.org.

Will you be having a paczki tomorrow? Let us know where you get one from!

Holiday Gifts in the Pure Michigan Store

Still need to cross those last few items off your holiday shopping list? Visit the Pure Michigan online store for ideas! From outerwear to home goods and collectibles, there are a number of options for the Michigan-lovers in your life. Below are just a few of our favorites that are available now.

For more options – including hot holiday deals on select items – visit www.puremichiganstore.org. And be sure to place your order by tomorrow, December 18th, to ensure arrival by December 25th!

Pure Michigan 2013 Calendar:

With stunning photography of some of our state’s most beautiful destinations, the Pure Michigan calendar is sure to keep you inspired throughout the year. See all photos from the 2013 calendar here.

Women’s French Terry Raglan Sweatshirt:

The Pure Michigan French Terry Raglan Sweatshirt is simple and classic enough to carry you through the seasons.

Youth Mitten Tee:

Mapping is easy when you start with Pure Michigan! This fun tee comes in youth sizes 8, 10 and 12.

Stemless Red Wine Glasses:

Toast the beauty of Pure Michigan with the hostess in your life. These stemless wine glasses are sold in packs of two and available for white wine as well.

Cherry of My Eye Crate:

This crate features four top-selling cherry products from the world’s cherry capitol! Apple and blueberry crates are also available.

Which item from the Pure Michigan Store is your favorite? Share with us below!

Make it a Real Michigan Christmas!

Still looking for that perfect, Michigan-grown tree for the holidays? Guest blogger Marsha Gray of the Michigan Christmas Tree Association shares some tips on finding the right tree for your family!

This is the year; the year to make forever holiday memories with your family!  There will never be a season with more days between Thanksgiving and Christmas, so there is plenty of time to plan a family outing to a local Christmas tree lot or farm to pick out that perfect, Michigan-grown tree.

Because Michigan is the third largest producer of Christmas trees in the US and because we grow more varieties than any other state, Michigan consumers have an abundance of choices when it comes to selecting a tree.  Will it be a Fraser fir, a spruce or maybe a traditional Michigan scotch pine?  The wide variety of choices insures that you will find just what you are looking for.  And, with so many knowledgeable growers here, they can guide you to a tree that meets your needs.

At Michigan’s “Choose & Cut” farms, you can spend as much time as you like, walking among the trees; taking in the fresh air and evergreen fragrance.  Once your family finds the perfect tree, there is the perfect chance to get a great family photo with the tree. (And maybe a funny photo of the lucky one who gets to saw it down!)  After the work is done, many of the farms offer a warm up with hot chocolate by a wood burning stove or bon fire.  Wagon rides, animals and even visits from Santa are common at many of the farms.

Whether you are cutting down your own tree or picking a beautiful Michigan-grown tree at a retail lot, consumers are urged to follow a few simple rules to keep their Christmas tree fresh and beautiful for the whole season:

  • Give your tree a fresh cut.  If you are cutting down your own tree, you are all set.  If you buy a pre-cut tree, the lot operator will typically give your tree a fresh cut.  This is the most critical step, as it opens up the base of the tree so that it can take up water.
  • Get your tree into water within a few hours.  If you are not displaying the tree immediately, place it in a bucket of water in the garage or another protected area.
  • Check the water level daily – twice each day on the first few days.  Never let the water level drop below the base of the tree trunk.  No additives needed – just plain water.
  • Decorate your tree with UL approved lights and display away from heat sources, fireplaces and warm, southern facing windows.

Enjoy your fresh, Michigan-grown tree and the wonderful holiday memories that you will make!

Marsha Gray has served as the Executive Director of the Michigan Christmas Tree Association for the past 10 years. She has worked in the field of trade association management in Michigan for the past 25 years. This holiday season she is busy with the “Make it a Real Michigan Christmas” campaign, encouraging Michigan residents to celebrate the holiday with fresh, Michigan-grown poinsettias and Christmas trees.