Feb 7, 2024 - Food and Drink

Where to get king cakes and paczki in Salt Lake for Mardi Gras

Two king cakes with green, yellow and purple sprinkles.

Two king cakes get their sprinkles in New Orleans. (Photo: C. Ross for The Washington Post via Getty Images)

Mardi Gras is near, which means it's time to get your orders in for the sweets of the season.

The big picture: For religious and cultural reasons, Utah's Fat Tuesday celebrations tend to be on the skinny side.

  • Mormonism is rooted in a Puritan tradition that viewed religious holidays as overly indulgent, so the day (Feb. 13 this year) is not a special occasion in Utah's predominant faith.

How it works: The holiday celebrates the day before Lent — the 40 days before Easter and, in much of Christianity, a season of somber reflection and sacrifice.

  • Many churches historically have called on members to give up rich foods during Lent, so "Fat Tuesday" (Mardi Gras in French) was the last chance to enjoy sugar and lard.
  • That inspired fun seasonal desserts around the globe.

Zoom in: The New Orleans king cake is a sweetbread circle with colored sugar icing and a plastic baby baked into the dough to symbolize Jesus.

  • Paczki are filled donuts, common in Poland and Midwestern cities with Polish immigrant heritage.

The latest: Erin, here! I called about a dozen bakeries and grocery stores this year with dreams of king cakes, paczki, semla buns, galani, fasnacht, alle belles and guaguas — and had a few more iterations of this conversation:

A social media post quoting a conversation about Fat Tuesday desserts, in which a bakery doesn't know what Fat Tuesday is.
Image via Facebook.

Yes, but: Several Utah eateries are laissez-ing les bon temps rouler!


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