Monday, July 15, 2013

Café Kolache: Putting a Unique Spin on a Czech Tradition

If you’ve ever visited Burleson County, Texas you’ve probably eaten a Kolache.  For those of you who are scratching your heads, Kolache are a favorite dessert for those of Czech heritage. It’s basically a slightly sweetened dough with a tasty dollop of filling (poppyseed, cheese, or fruit is traditional) that nests in the center.  Texas is home to many with Czech roots due to immigration during the 1800s. If you can’t visit Texas any time soon, or Czechoslovakia for that matter, then it’s time to set your GPS for… Beaver, PA?  That’s correct!  Thanks to Kristi Harper, once a resident of Austin, Texas, we only need to take a leisure drive to enjoy sweet and savory treats at Café Kolache.

We arrived to downtown Beaver on a sunny, summer afternoon and were tickled to see such a charming strip of shops and eateries!  While there were several distractions on the way (antiques, jewelry, and shoes oh, my!), we were starving and decided to fill our bellies with Kolache first.  It was of the luncheon hour and Café Kolache was brimming with patrons. 

While anxiously awaiting our turn to order at the counter, we were able to see the offerings of the day in the glass case.  At first, my eyes were drawn to the traditional sweet-filled Kolache.  There were blueberry and cheese still left for the taking.  Next to those were the biggest, most scrumptious-looking cinnamon rolls.  The gentleman at the counter informed me that the cinnamon rolls were made out of Kolache dough as well.  Well, dessert was a no-brainer; we ordered one of each.

With my sweet tooth at bay, we moved onto some unique, savory Kolache.  This is the real reason we had made the trip.  At our arrival, they had Ham and Cheese, Chicken Fajita and Jalapeño, and Sundried Tomato and Artichoke.  They also had a few of their “Lunch Kolache of the Day” left: Balsamic Chicken and Mushroom.   We ended up filling our tray with three different choices to share.  We threw in two freshly brewed iced teas to quench our thirst (they also have an array of coffee choices roasted by Prestogeorge) and made our way outside to grab the last table.  Café Kolache also has a lovely indoor seating area if al fresco dining isn’t in the forecast.

When cutting our savory Kolache into halves, I realized how much they resembled little calzones.  Taking my first bite of the Balsamic Chicken and Mushroom variety, however, I realized that Kolache dough vastly contrasts with pizza dough.  Rather than being dense and chewy, it was soft and delicate.  The pocket was loaded with big chunks of mushrooms and tender chicken, and it oozed a bit of the balsamic sauciness with each cut.  Next up was the Sundried Tomato and Artichoke.  The flavors of sweet and salty were nicely balanced, but the filling was sparse.  I was feeling a tad deflated after the first Kolache was so scrumptious. I was unsure of what to expect from the last of our trio.  Any feelings of doubt completely vanished when I took a bite of the Chicken Fajita and Jalapeño.  Once again tender chicken galore, but this time loaded with a spicy punch of flavor.  It was difficult to share this one! 

Balsamic Chicken and Mushroom
Sundried Tomato and Artichoke
Chicken Fajita and Jalapeño 
After getting a free refill of ice tea, I decided I had to at least try a bite of the cinnamon roll that was beckoning me from its “To-Go” bag.  As mentioned, I have a serious sweet tooth and this was not my first face-to-face encounter with yummy looking cinnamon rolls.  Yummy looking is the key here, though.  I can’t tell you how many times I’ve bitten into a picturesque roll that was dry or sweetened beyond palatable judgment.  When peeling off the first layer (yes, I’m one of those people), I could see it was moist and had a nice dusting of cinnamon hidden inside.  But did it taste good?  I here by declare, Café Kolache to have the best cinnamon rolls I have tasted to date.  Not only was it fluffy and perfectly spiced, it had just the right amount of sweetness.  The glaze on top was an excellent decision as well.  I’ve always been a fan of the glaze over the 1-inch spread of frosting kinda girl. 

Cinnamon Roll
My husband ate most of the traditional sweet Kolache before I could snap a picture (sorry!).  I took a bite of each, and both were equally amazing.  The blueberry Kolache was filled with plump, juicy berries and the cheese Kolache was rich and velvety.  With these, the filling sits atop a square-cut of dough, rather than inside like the savory varieties.

Café Kolache is celebrating its 10th anniversary this year.  If you’ve never been, it’s time for a day trip out of the ‘Burgh.  I’m positive you’ll be smitten with this little town and the friendly folks you’ll meet.  

I give Café Kolache: 4/5 forks
402 3rd St
Beaver, PA 15009

Cafe Kolache on Urbanspoon

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