What is a Kolache?
In the mid 1800’s Czechoslovakian (“Czech”) immigrants began a 17-week journey from their European homeland to Galveston, Texas. They, as many peoples did, came to America for the opportunity to work toward a better life. They also worked hard to retain their heritage in this new land; and food, including the Kolache, was an important part of this preservation. (See “The Czechs of Texas”- Texas Almanac 2000-01).
The Kolache, a slightly sweetened yeast dough, was a delightful dessert that complemented Czech meals. The traditional Kolache was filled with apricot, cottage cheese, poppy seed and/or lekvar (prune butter). However, this beautiful bread-dough is also scrumptious when filled with a variety of fruits, meats, cheeses and/or vegetables as well.
Kristi DeMaiolo Harper, owner of Café Kolache, spent 11 years in Houston, Texas and it was there that she, like many others, came to appreciate this “fun-food” of the Czech people. The Texas cities of Austin, Dallas and Houston have numerous Kolache shops; and Kolache Festivals are annual events in towns like Caldwell and West, Texas. However, while the Czech culture is a notable one in the Pittsburgh area, kolaches were most often enjoyed by families in their own homes using great-grandma’s recipe…until Cafe Kolache opened in early 2003.
To our knowledge the town of Beaver was the first in the greater Pittsburgh area to introduce this enjoyable “breakfast, lunch, dessert or anytime snack.”
“From Czechoslovakia to Texas to Beaver to You!”