Ansonia bake shop holds annual paczki eating contest for Fat Tuesday

(WTNH/ Kent Pierce)

ANSONIA, Conn. (WTNH)– It’s Fat Tuesday and across the country, people are celebrating in their own ways. In Ansonia, the tradition is not a parade, it’s an eating contest.

Ever wonder why they call it Fat Tuesday? Well, I have a hint for you, and it involves a little pastry called a paczki.

Every year the contestants gather at Eddy’s Bake Shop in Ansonia, stomachs empty, heads full of the task ahead – five minutes of eating as many paczkis as they can…but first things first.

“So, a paczki is a Polish doughnut, basically. It’s a different dough and it’s overstuffed, so you’re getting a big bite out of it,” said Gabriella Ciocca, Eddy’s Bake Shop.

Or lots of bites. Each one weighs about 9 ounces. This is the 19th year Eddy’s has hosted the contest. It’s become a Fat Tuesday institution. Ansonia’s mayor is even the official timer…

On the faces of the competitors, a look of intensity. Or maybe indigestion. The contest may look gluttonous, but the idea of the paczkis is to prepare for the holy season before Easter.

(WTNH/ Kent Pierce)
(WTNH/ Kent Pierce)

“They get rid of all the extra flour and sugar and all the junk in your house before Lent and make it into this doughnut. They eat it all up and then after that, that’s it for Lent,” said Ciocca.

That may be it for most of these guys for lent, as they put away five, six, seven monster doughnuts.

And the winner is…Nick Wehry from Torrington who put away nine of them. He’s done a few eating contests. He loves to eat, and says Eddy’s paczkis are the best around.

“I mean obviously you’re doing it for speed, but once everything calms down, I’ll probably just sit and enjoy this one or something,” said Wehry. “Well, I want to savor the flavor of one of them, you know?”

They are delicious, and if this looked good to you, come by next year on Fat Tuesday when it will be the 20th annual paczki eating contest. But if you want a seat at this table, you better have the stomach for it.

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