Fat Tuesday, Valentine’s Day offer Niles residents a chance to stock up on sweets

NILES — With Valentine’s Day and Fat Tuesday coming up, sweet treats are on the minds of bakers around the area.

At Gabrizio Italian Café and Bakery, at 104 N. Third St. in Niles, owner Desyree Alberganti showed off a heart shaped donut-type confection called a “bombolone” along with a special rose petal latte.

“You would find [bombolone] in the region of Tuscany,” Alberganti said. “It’s our Italian donut.”

The Italian word “bomba” means “bomb,” and Alberganti said the treat’s traditional shape is closer to that of a bomb.

“We make ours in the shape of a heart for Valentines week,” she said.

Alberganti said the bombolone are filled with a cream filling, Nutella, apricot or strawberry jam.

Her favorite is the Nutella, with the mix of chocolate and hazelnut flavors coming together.

“I like them to be small,” Alberganti said. “You eat one, and then you eat 10 of them.”

The bombolone will be available at Gabrizio Italian Café and Bakery through Sunday.

A little south of downtown, Martin’s Supermarket, at 720 S. 11th St. in Niles, Bakery Manager Sharon Pratt and her team have been busy preparing paczki, a Polish filled-donut treat.

“Fat Tuesday is the big day,” Pratt said of the holiday preceding Ash Wednesday.

Pratt said the bakery will go through a minimum of 600 pounds of paczki for the big day.

The bakery offers 10 different flavors, including Bavarian cream, strawberry, raspberry, cream cheese, blueberry, chocolate, apple, apricot, prune and plain. There is a special order flavor of strawberry and cream.

They also have multiple toppings, including powdered sugar, regular sugar, glazed and plain.

Pratt said due to COVID-19, large boxes have not been selling as quickly as they have in year’s past. Instead, single servings have been more popular this year.

Pratt learned about paczki when she began working with Martin’s Supermarkets 18 years ago.

“I learned very quickly what paczki were on Fat Tuesday,” Pratt said, with a laugh.

The bakery team will spend overnights creating the paczki through the weekend to fill the demand on
Tuesday.

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