Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Kolache vs. Potica (a northern region dispatch)

Nothing says Christmastime like baked goods, and for Duke-Dippers, the baked good that says it best is kolache. The kitchens at my work are brimming with goodies, and on today's early morning reconnaissance I came face to face with what I consider the holy grail.

That's right kolache! Except, wait a minute, it's not kolache. The package says "potica." A quick search reveals that potica is the common Slovenian name and kolache is more of a catch-all term for cakes. Have Duke-Dippers been eating potica all these years (gasp!)? Probably, but who cares!

In my official role as investigator I took a slice of the kitchen potica back to my desk... uh, I mean back to my lab for analysis. There were minor differences in what we grew up with -- a little too much nutmeg and walnuts that were chopped into almost a paste instead of being left a little chunky, but all in all it was surprisingly close to the real thing.

Northern Minnesota residents seem to be particularly fond of the cake. And now that I know this, another conundrum has been cleared up for me. About a year ago, I started hearing people talk about kolache (pronounced: "ko-LATCH-ee"). What the "you betch-ya" state refers to as kolache is actually more of a breakfast roll with a sweet filling. So if you find yourself here for a visit, now you'll know what to order and not be disappointed.

In the case of kolache vs. poticia, I say let them live in harmony. Eat them both.

Na zdravĂ­ (cheers)!