Feeling the need to stay in touch with our Czech heritage, Blognut makes the long subway ride to the Bohemian Hall & Beer Garden in Astoria, Queens for the 24th Annual Czech and Slovak Festival (or, as it's called on the Garden's Web site, The 24nd Annual Czech and Slovak Festival).
We arrive in the early afternoon to beat the crowds and score a seat immediately. We share a table with an old Czech man that resembles my grandfather. He makes a joke about how he plans to steal our camera while we're at the bar - everyone laughs.
We start our day with 2 pints of Czechvar and more than enough traditional Bohemian folk dancing. With our stomachs adequately primed on delicious Czech froth, we make our way to the food tables where, as we had hoped, we encounter a women selling authentic Czech donuts (known as Koblihys).
Before moving foward with any Donut-Commentary, we feel some clarification is in order:
Many people are under the impression that the traditional Czech donut is the Kolache (also known as Kolach or Kolacky). While this may be splitting hairs, the general Czech-Consensus is that Kolaches are more akin to pastries then they are to typical American/European donuts, with filling resting in a small depression on the top surface. Koblihys, on the other hand, resemble jelly donuts. They are large and round, with their filling completely encased in dough. Both Kolaches and Koblihys are typically filled with cheese, cream, poppy seeds, or fruit. Savory, meat-filled Kolaches have become popular with Czech populations in the United States, with cities such as Montgomery, Minnesota and Caldwell, Texas holding annual Kolache festivals. But I digress.
After speaking with the Czech-Donut-Lady, and confirming that her offerings were in fact Koblihys, we order two - one filled with prune and one filled with cream. The thin layer of powdered sugar on the prune-filled was unable to redeem its lack of taste. As was the case with the Polish pączek we dined on a few weeks back, this Koblihy reminded us of a semi-stale dinner roll. However, once again, due to vastly different cultural expectations, we don't fault the Koblihy for not meeting our sugary, American-Donut-Needs. The cream-filled, on the other hand, was delicious. Stuffed with smooth, Boston-y creme and covered in a rich chocolate frosting, this Koblihy left us with a satisfied stomach and chocolate-covered fingers - definitely worth "Czeching" out. We washed down our donut with a pint of Staropramen and the sweet sounds of the Pilsner Brass Band.
Dancing Czech men.
Thanks to Dad for speaking with us on behalf of his grandmother's homemade Kolaches and to our friend Slim for accompanying us to the Beer Garden.