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If you want a donut, then only from Wrocław! – about Wrocław donut madness tells dr hab. Joanna Nowosieska-Sobel. Where did the donuts come from? Their prototype was known already in antiquity, but their modern form comes from… well…

Sweet-stuffed donuts in many languages ​​of the world have names that refer to Berlin as their capital (Finnish “berliininmunkki”, Norwegian “berlinerboller”, French “boule de Berlin”, Dutch “berlijnse bollen”, Portuguese “bolas de Berlin”). However, the nineteenth-century residents of Wrocław knew that a donut stuffed with plum jam or plum mousse with the addition of cinnamon (aka krepel or Kreppel in German) was a Wrocław delicacy. It was called the king of carnival and was eaten in great quantities. In the 1830s, there was even a “Song about a donut from Wrocław”, which said:

“[…] Today is not the time for cakes, waffles, cakes

Today every woman is eating donuts.

Let us therefore praise these mountains of sweetness,

Only the taste of love is more beautiful than them.


But be careful, man – do not eat in a hurry.

Drink as much as you like – you won’t be in sin.

Have fun in the carnival, amuse your body and soul,

Eat a lot of donuts – don’t take care of the carcass! ”

(Discovered and translated by Grzegorz Sobel PhD, historian from the University of Wrocław)

– The donut from Wrocław resembled today’s one. However, the first mentions of deep-fried yeast cakes go back to antiquity, we can read about them in Marek Porcjusz Katon (234 BC – 149 BC) in the treatise “About the farm”. Yeast cakes prepared for the last days before Lent were known in medieval monasteries. About kreple mentions Mikołaj Rej in “The Life of a Good Man” and a keen observer of the customs of the eighteenth century, Jędrzej Kitowicz in his “Description of customs and history during the reign of Augustus III”. At the end of the 17th century, the Viennese confectionery of Cecylia Krapf was famous for them, says Grzegorz Sobel PhD.

In Lower Silesia and Wrocław, donuts were known at least from the beginning of the 18th century. The donut became a symbol of everything that was forbidden during fasting. Therefore, they were especially served in the last days of the carnival, between “Donut Saturday” (Krapfen Samstag) and “Fat Tuesday” (Fettdienstag), preceding Ash Wednesday. In the 19th century, donuts became an essential item on the menu of Wrocław carnival balls, when even… donut polonaises were danced. Would you like to know more details? Be sure to watch the story of dr hab. Joanna Nowosieska-Soblel, professor at the University of Wrocław.

Published by: Małgorzata Jurkiewicz

12 Feb 2021

last modification: 17 Feb 2021