Fat Tuesday Around The World!

Fat Tuesday is when people of Catholic faith spend the day gorging on foods rich in sugar, fat, milk, and eggs. It was originally a way for people abstaining from these ingredients during Lent to use them up in preparation for the next 40 days and nights, since they would abstain from these temptations. In the UK it is known as Shrove Tuesday or Pancake Day. British people eat up lots of pancakes in preparation for Lent. But how do others in the world observe Fat Tuesday? Today we will explore what people in other parts of the world eat for Fat Tuesday.

However you want to spend Fat Tuesday is entirely up to you. Why not try some of these delicious cakes and buns below?

Sweden-Semla buns:My personal favorite of pre-Lent goodies, semla buns (or semlor, the plural) Cardamom spiced buns filled with almond paste and topped with cream and dusted with powdered sugar. In Sweden, semlor are so popular that they have started making them early in the year, all the way from the end of the Christmas season until Fettisdagen, the Swedish word for Fat Tuesday.

Denmark-Fastelavnsboller are known as a shrovetide or Lenten bun in English. These are similar to the Swedish semla but the Danish have a different take on their version. These buns are cut in half and sandwiched between sweet cream. In addition to the powdered sugar topping these buns, sometimes a chocolate icing is drizzled on top. These are usually eaten on the Sunday or Monday before Ash Wednesday.

Poland-Pączki: Pronounced as Pahnch-key, these are donuts similar to the Berliner or American jelly donut, filled with fruit jam, usually a plum jam called powidła. Sweet yeast dough is fried up in oil and then drizzled with a sweet, sugary glaze! While they are eaten on Fat Tuesday in America, the Polish actually eat their pączki on Fat Thursday, the day after Ash Wednesday.

USA-King Cake is the most well known dessert eaten on Mardi Gras. This cake was named after the Three Kings and brought over to the US from France in the 19th Century. King Cakes are said to be a cross between a coffee cake and French pastry. They are made with a yeast dough and decorated with icing and three different colors: purple, yellow/gold, and green. It is said that these colors have a meaning to them. For example, the gold color means “power”, green “faith”, and purple justice. Sometimes a little baby doll or toy is baked inside the cake and whoever finds it in their piece is designated king or queen of the evening. The baby represents luck and prosperity and gives the responsibility of buying/making the next year’s King Cake and/or throwing the next Mardi Gras party as well.

Many Countries-Angel Wings: These are pieces of dough twisted to look like angel’s wings and fried until crispy and dusted with powdered sugar. Mostly popular in Eastern European countries, these are eaten between Fat Tuesday and Fat Thursday, depending on tradition.

Did you know? Mardi Gras is French for Fat Tuesday!


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