If you’ve eaten breakfast in Texas then you’ve probably heard of kolaches. However, if you have not yet had the otherworldly pleasure of eating a few kolaches, then pay close attention. You want to make sure that when you try your first one it is an authentic piece of Czech history and not something that us Texans have simply deemed “kolach”.
Katey Psencik a Czech descendent and Texan, presented her case to the readers of Austin 360 last week.
The History of Central Texas Kolaches
In Central Texas, there is a little Bohemia. Also known as the Texas Czech Belt, this area covers much of north-central Texas and was settled in the 1800s by immigrants from the European nations in and around the Czech Republic. Among the many things that these people brought with them was a delicious little pastry called a “kolach”. These little pastries were square in shape, filled with fruit or cheese, and eaten for dessert.
Notice, nowhere is it mentioned that these were meat-filled, to-go breakfast options. Originally, kolaches were filled with sweet fruits like plums and prunes. Many were even stuffed with poppy seeds. Poor peasants without access to any of these ingredients would even use a simple farmer’s cheese.
Where Do Meat Kolaches Come From?
When Czech immigrants stepped onto Texas shores, however, they began experimenting with their fillings. They added cream cheese, blueberries, pineapples, nuts, cottage cheese, cherries, or whatever other sweet fruit that they had on hand. Still, no one tried to add meat to the mix.
That’s because those sausage-filled pastries that you know and love were invented by Texas families of Czech descent and were called klobasniky. The Village Bakery in West, Texas takes credit for this upgrade.
So, although they are delicious, these “pigs in a blanket”, as the meat-stuffed rolls are often affectionately called, are not kolaches.
And in the words of Psencik, “I call upon you, people of Central Texas, to stop referring to these meat-filled delicacies as kolaches, and call them by their rightful name: Klobasniky, or klobasnek in the singular. The Czech community will thank you.”