Czech It Out
Texas boasts not one but two official state pastries, the sopaipilla and the strudel. Yet a case could be made for another pastry to join their ranks: the kolache.
In what Texas Monthly has dubbed the Kolache Triangle — anchored by the highways that run between Austin, Houston, Dallas and San Antonio — dozens of stores bake and peddle the Czech-born treat. Perhaps fortuitously in light of this recent buzz, Dallas got a kolache shop on Greenville Avenue last fall in Bohemian Cafe.
Of course, the pastry has popped up in other states, but it holds a special place in the hearts and stomachs of Texans.
Now the rest of the country may get a true taste of what Texans have been craving and raving about for decades. Why? On a Today show appearance earlier this week, Bon Appetit editor-in-chief Adam Rapoport proclaimed that the kolache is the Cronut of 2015.
As Texans already know, the kolache is a pillowy pastry of yeast dough crammed with fruit, cheese, meat or other fillings. Meanwhile, the Cronut is a croissant-doughnut hybrid concocted in mid-2013 by a New York City bakery. As pointed out on Today, the Cronut set off something of a culinary craze in 2014.
But if you believe Rapoport’s declaration, the Cronut is stale and the kolache is fresh. Bon Appétit’s editor isn’t the first one to crow about the kolache, though. In the past, it’s been pronounced “the next-generation doughnut” and “the next bagel.”
Let’s give credit where credit is due, however. Last April, Texas Monthly actually beat Bon Appétit to the Cronut comparison. “If you need further proof that our favorite roadside delicacy may be the new Cronut,” the magazine noted, “it is now possible to procure a kolache in Portland and Brooklyn and quite a few places in between.”
Certainly, our beloved kolache is bound to get a national boost from its brief time in the Today spotlight. During the show, Rapoport sampled a ham-jalapeño-cheddar kolache from a joint in Brooklyn, while anchor Matt Lauer nibbled a smoked beef sausage version.
“Not exactly low-calorie, but delicious,” Rapoport said. Added Lauer, “Really good. I like that.”
Just remember, Matt Lauer, that when Today tries to crown 2016’s equivalent of the kolache, the eyes of Texas will be upon you.