Kolaches, Czech pastries with a Texan twist
When I visit my parents in Argentina, one of my favourite Sunday rituals is to laze the morning away with a tray of facturas (Argentinean pastries), a steaming cup of café con leche and the newspaper. There aren’t many similar pastries in Dallas, where I now live, but the closest thing I’ve found are kolaches.
I first tried kolaches when we visited the town of West in central Texas. West is the epicenter of the Czech heritage, especially their culinary tradition. We have been known to make a detour just to eat lunch at one of the local restaurants. And, of course, one of the local specialties is kolaches. After a delicious lunch of goulash and stuffed cabbage leaves, we took a stroll and found a bakery. We were lured in by the sweet smell and decided to try their kolaches.
We do not need to drive one and a half hours to get our kolach fix. Luckily, there are a handful of kolache bakeries dotted around Dallas.
So, what is a kolach? It’s a type of semisweet supple pastry, with a slightly yeasty aftertaste, topped with a dollop of fruit jam or cream cheese and jam. There are also savoury kolaches with fillings like jalapeno sausage or cheese (or both). They go down a treat with a cup of coffee.
I generally eat the center first and then dunk the pillowy pastry in my coffee. I love the contrasts: hot and cold, sweet and bitter. If you’re curious about kolaches, hit the Texas Kolache Trail or Westfest, a celebration of all things Czech that takes place in West on Labour Day weekend at the beginning of September.
West is located about 90 miles south of Dallas, straight down Interstate 35 South, or 200 miles north of Houston on TX 6 North.