Back to our regularly scheduled program in just a second…
Over Memorial Day, I went on a mini (very mini) culinary adventure, and discovered the Central European dessert, kolache. I had no idea what this was prior to being told I was going to try one.
“What is it?”
“It’s this pastry thing. It’s kolache. It’s good.”
“Pastry? But I don’t like sweets.”
“It’s got sausage or some other meat and cheese in it.”
“But it’s pastry?”
“It’s kolache. Just try it. It’s good.”
I felt like I was having a conversation with someone ESL – like when you ask them what THIS is (pointing to the object), and they give you the word for the item in their native language…then you repeat the word asking what it is, and they point to the object, and they emphatically say “THIS!”
Ok, sure. I’ll try it. A few hours later, we pulled in to get our kolache. Into a rest stop.
Or at least it looked like a rest stop. And ok, fine, it’s a famous place. But really…you couldn’t find a better storefront?! Anyway, after waiting in line for what felt like forever, I finally got up to the counter and saw….
Kolache (or very specifically, Americanized kolache), as it turns out, is either similar to a tiny danish, or something resembling baozi, but tasting like neither. The dough was…not flaky like a danish or croissant, nor dense like a bread roll, but it was somewhere in between, and only slightly sweet. It tasted almost like Portuguese massa sovada.
I tried two sweet – lemon/cream cheese and cottage cheese (don’t hate) – and one savory – jalapeño sausage and cheese. The sausage was insanely salty, but it was also my favorite. It’s not every day you get to mix spicy, cheesy, sweet, and salty in a puff of deliciousness.
Truck stop, rest stop, Czech stop, gas station, whatever. The bakery inside was great. And the kolache itself? It was fantastic, and scrumptious, and you can’t ask for more than that.