Feb. 13, 2016 SIGN IN | REGISTER

Noshtalgia: Hunting the Elusive Kolache

A dearth of Czech bakeries in the area means a displaced Capitol Hill staffer is not alone in her excruciating longing

Warren Rojas/CQ Roll Call
For those who migrate to the D.C. area and long for a taste of the Tex-Czech treat, Kolache Kreations is one place offering the grab-and-go snack, with varieties such as blueberry, country ham and cheese, and mushroom, egg and cheese.

“Find me authentic kolache!” Shana Teehan, spokeswoman for Rep. Kevin Brady, R-Texas, pleaded while we discussed my idea for a new, semi-regular food feature about reuniting displaced congressional staffers with the foods they miss most.

Teehan feasted on kolache, a Czech-born pastry, during her early years in Texas.

“I’ve never had a flavor I didn’t like, whether it was a sweet, fruit-filled bun, or a savory option filled with sausage, cheese or peppers,” she shared of her affinity for the flavor-filled dough balls.

A move to Alabama did nothing to diminish her habit, since Southern mainstay Shipley’s Donuts dabbles in Tex-Czech delicacies as well.

But migrating here has proved excruciating. “Since moving to D.C., I’ve been sadly kolacheless,” Teehan said.

Addie Broyles, food writer at the Austin American-Statesman, can understand that type of separation anxiety.

“Kolaches are absolutely a mainstream part of the Central Texas diet. Not quite up there with breakfast tacos, but many bakeries, even the non-Czech ones, carry them,” she said of the proliferation of the grab-and-go snack. She ticked off a number of renowned Texas bakeries — The Czech Stop in West, Hruska’s in Ellingeer, Weikel’s in La Grange (“We Gotcha Kolache” is their tagline) — but admitted to knowing little about ex-pats developing pastry pipelines to other states.

Kolache Factory Vice President Dawn Nielsen, on the other hand, is well-versed in feeding the kolache-crazed masses. She said the Texas-based baking outfit has shipped its signature pastries to the farthest reaches of Alaska. “Some areas are so remote, overnight takes two days,” Nielsen said.

She was unaware of any standing orders from Capitol Hill but dangled the hope Washingtonians might one day sample the goods. “We definitely have fans that cannot wait until we get there,” she suggested.

But what to do in the meantime?

Ellicott City Via Houston

Our investigation led us to the Maryland suburbs, where we connected with Kolache Kreations co-founder Ileana Fernandez.

The native Houstonian said she moved to Maryland just less than a decade ago. And where once she could feed her pastry fix by popping into any one of her many go-to bakeries, Fernandez soon discovered she’d either have to make her own or learn to go without. “I wanted to buy them already made, but there was none to be found,” she said of the initial culture shock.

Those hunger pangs eventually morphed into inspiration.

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