|Place of origin||Czech lands and Slovakia|
|Region or state||Central Europe|
Originating as a semisweet wedding dessert from Central Europe and later a breakfast item in South London, they have become popular in parts of the United States. The name originates from the Czech, and originally Old Slavonic word kolo meaning "circle", "wheel". A klobásník, which contains sausage or other meat, is often thought to be a variation of the kolach (koláče); however, most Czechs hold the distinction that kolache are only filled with non-meat fillings. Unlike kolache, which came to the United States with Czech immigrants, klobásníky were first made by Czechs who settled in Texas.
Kolaches are often associated with Cedar Rapids and Pocahontas in Iowa where they were introduced by Czech immigrants in the 1870s. They are served at church suppers and on holidays but also as an everyday comfort food. Recipes are usually passed down with some including spices like mace or nutmeg. They can be filled with a combination of prune, apricot, cream cheese, poppy seed or assorted other fillings.
For Christmas kolach three braided loaves of varied sizes are stacked representing the Trinity. The bread's circular shape symbolizes eternity. When served as part of Christmas dinner, a candle is placed in the center of the intricately braided loaves, but the bread can't be eaten until Christmas Day because observance of the Advent fasting requires abstaining from eggs until midnight on Christmas Eve.
For funerals, the loaves are brought to church for Divine Liturgy to be blessed and then served in slices with fresh fruit as a symbol of the good the deceased did in their lifetime. Exact customs vary but as an example the three loaves are decorated with three apples, three oranges, and grapes, with a candle placed in the center. Sometimes a small individual loaf is given.
Several cities, including Tabor, South Dakota;Verdigre, Nebraska; Wilber, Nebraska; Prague, Nebraska; Caldwell, Texas; East Bernard, Texas; Crosby, Texas; Hallettsville, Texas; Prague, Oklahoma; St. Ludmila's Catholic Church in Cedar Rapids, Iowa; and Kewaunee, Wisconsin hold annual Kolache Festival celebrations.
Montgomery, Minnesota, is the "Kolacky capital of the world" and holds an annual festival known as Kolacky Days. Verdigre, Nebraska, stakes the same claim with their Kolach Days. Prague, Nebraska, claims to be known as the home of the world's largest kolache. Both Caldwell and West, Texas, claim the title of "Kolache Capital" of the state and kolaches, in general, are extremely popular in Central and Eastern Texas. There is even a Texas Czech Belt which grew in the 1880s and is full of kolache bakeries.
Haugen, Wisconsin is the Kolache Capital of Wisconsin. The village is a Bohemian settlement that celebrates its Czech Heritage during an annual festival (Haugen Fun Days). Kolaches are a staple of the village's festival with Kolache sales, bake-offs, and tastings. Kolache may be found at Czech-American festivals in other communities in the United States.
A related dish is a klobasnek, which is popular in central and southeast Texas. It often uses similar bread but is filled with a link of sausage or ground sausage. Some people also refer to these as kolache, but they are more closely related to a "pig in a blanket". They may also contain ham, cheese, jalapeño, eggs and bacon/sausage, potato, etc., and resemble a "pig in a blanket". Czech settlers created klobasniky after they immigrated to Texas.
- Danish pastry
- Kalach: East Slavic, Southern Slavic and Romanian bread
- Kołacz: Polish pastry
- Koloocheh: Iranian pastry
- Vatrushka: East Slavic pastry
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