December 1, 2018

KOLACHES - Where To Find The Best, Authentic Kolaches

Kolache, Kolaches, Kolatch, Kolatche, Kolaç.  The Czech immigrants to Texas at the end of the 19th century brought their cuisine here and introduced the kolaç, giving it its own Texas style. The kolaç is a sweet pastry, never savory (that was to evolve later as klobasnicki or "pigs in blankets" as they were known when I was growing up became lumped in as kolaches here in Texas). And the classic soft bread kolaç, made with butter, milk, sugar, flour and yeast gave way to this god awful doughy doughnut thing in the Asian run doughnut shops in Texas.

‘Show him the spiced plums, mother. Americans don’t have those,’ said one of the older boys. ‘Mother uses them to make kolaches,’ he added. Leo, in a low voice, tossed off some scornful remark in Bohemian. I turned to him. ‘You think I don’t know what kolaches are, eh? You’re mistaken, young man. I’ve eaten your mother’s kolaches long before that Easter Day when you were born.’
– Willa Cather’s novel My Antonia (1918), about Bohemian immigrants in Nebraska in the 1880s
Sometimes there is a fine line between cakes, breads, and pastries. The Czech koláč (koláče plural) –- the hacek mark over the letter “c” makes it a guttural “ch” -— consists of a large sweet yeast dough round topped with pools of a sweet mixture (or several types), while its diminutive koláček (koláčky plural) denotes smaller individual versions. In America, the names were anglicized, depending on the part of the country, as kolache or kolacky (typically used for both large and small cakes as well as both plural and singular).

And so, here is a short list of place where one can get the real deal. I have sampled them at all of these places and can give my native Texan seal of approval to them.

My Favorite Kolache Place in Houston. Five Stars:
The Kolache Shoppe
1031 Heights Blvd. 
Houston, Texas 7700
3945 Richmond Ave. 
Houston, Texas 77027 (Greenway Plaza)

The Annual Frydek Catholic Church Picnic
In April
Frydek is very near Sealy and is an easy drive from Houston

Little Gretel Restaurant
518 River Road

Weikel's Bakery
2155 Highway 290

East Bernard
Vincek's Smokehouse
139 S Dill Street

Hruska's Bakery
Highway 71 (can't miss it...Ellinger isn't that big)

Hilje (El Campo)
Prasek's Hilje Smokehoust
29714 Highway 59

Original Kolache Shoppe
5404 Telephone Road

La Grange
Weikel's Bakery
2247 West Highway 71

La Grange
Lukas Bakery
135 North Main Street

Old Main Street Bakery
808 3rd Street

Original Kountry Bakery
110 Kessler Avenue

Prasek's Sealy Smokehouse
2949 I-10 Frontage Road

West, Texas
Czech Stop
104 S George Kacir Street

West, Texas
Gerik's Old Czech Bakery
511 W Oak Street

West, Texas
Village Bakery
113 E Oak Street

West, Texas
Slovacek's Bakery
214 Melodie Drive

Various Locations - Buc-Ee's

Kolaches in the Czech Republic - VERY Informative

Lisa Fain Article on Kolaches with Recipe

East Bernard Kolache Festival - 2nd Saturday in June Every Year (Recommended)

Atlas Obscura Article on Kolaches

Saveur Article on Kolaches

Houston Chronicle Article with Victoria Rittinger Family Recipe

Texas Monthly Article on Kolaches with Recipe

Caldwell, Texas Kolache Festival Every Year in September

Slovak Cooking - A Recipe

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