Greetings from Warsaw
We've been in Warszawa since Thursday.
It has been cold, but it is actually quite beautiful right now.
I've not been here in 15 years. The change is incredible. You can still find funky little flea markets, run down train stations, and ugly Communist-era buildings, but those are quickly being replaced by new shopping centres, shiny glass office towers, and brand new new trams and metros. Business and growth, and with them money and English, are everywhere here now. It is incredible.
We've mostly been visiting family so far, so I haven't had much of a chance to go "bakery hopping" or do much sightseeing yet. We've eaten some wonderful breads with pasztet and ozorek and zurek though, many of the breads quite dense and dark, containing grains and fruits and nuts (I'll have time to figure out what all they were later). And I've finally tried pączki.
These pączki were from A.Blikle, one of the most famous bakeries in Warszawa. They claim it is where Charles De Gaulle used to get his pastries during his time here.
The Blikle pączki were amazing, soft, just slightly sweet, and flavoured with rose petal jam. I always figured pączki were "kinda like jelly doughnuts," and I guess they are but that comparison is like claiming that a French baguette with brie is kinda like American cheese on white bread. Or saying that what you get at Olive Garden is Italian food. The same general make up, yes, but really on entirely different level when it comes to craftsmanship.
I don't know if pączki are usually this good or if it is just this bakery, but I will definitely be trying more while we are here!