7 delightful types of donuts worth traveling for
You'll want to circle the globe for these legendary pastries.
Who knew fried dough could be so versatile – and so irresistible?
Clearly, we've all got a soft spot for the donut (or "doughnut," for the traditionalists among us) and will wholeheartedly defend our favorite brand, bakery, flavor or shape of this beloved treat. We've been known to eat it for breakfast, a midday (or midnight) snack, and even mid-race. Be honest – when was the last time you turned down a donut that some diet-destroying coworker brought brazenly into the break room?
Long before the Krispy Kremes and Dunkin Donuts enthusiasts were born, people all over the world have been creating their own editions of this classic pastry to accompany celebrations of their cultures and customs, or simply as a popular street food for locals, tourists and sweet tooths everywhere. Here are seven of the best types of international donuts.
The Pączki is a round jam-filled doughnut, known in Poland at least since the Middle Ages. (Photo: Wikimedia Commons)
Pączki is deep-fried dough filled with a cream or sweet jelly, glazed or covered with powdered sugar. It's a donut, sure, but in Poland, it's a holiday! These deep-fried delights are so popular in Poland, there's even a day named after them – Pączki Day, also known as Fat Tuesday. U.S. cities with large Polish populations like Buffalo, Detroit and Chicago celebrate the day with – you guessed it – Pączki aplenty.
Oliebollen are Dutch-style donuts traditionally eaten on New Year's Eve. (Photo: greatstockimages/Shutterstock)
Happy New Year, have a donut! Yes, these bite-size, deep-fried morsels of heaven are the perfect accompaniment for that champagne toast as citizens across The Netherlands ring in the new year. They're called oliebollen, which literally means "oil balls." Dried fruit – most commonly raisins – are the preferred filling, with a sprinkling of powdered sugar and cinnamon to top it off.
Sufganiyot are popular jelly-filled donuts in Israel. (Photo: Boris-B/Shutterstock)
Shape 'em, fry 'em, fill 'em with jelly. It's the standard procedure for donut-making around the world. But in Israel, this donut is a national treasure – one bakery in Israel claims to produce more than 250,000 every day during peak season. Called sufganiyot, they're similar to the German Berliner (see below) and the Polish Pączki (see above). Bakeries are known to get creative with these beauties, piping in dulce de leche, chocolate creme and even arak in place of the jelly. Courtesy of our Israeli Kitchen chef Miriam Kresh, here's an easy recipe for fresh Sufganiyot at home.
Koeksister, South Africa
Koeksisters are syrup-coated donuts from South Africa. (Photo: Elize Lotter/Shutterstock)
It's a donut with a twist! This syrup-coated South African treat is basically honey in solid form – it's sticky, sweet and perfectly pleasant. There are two versions of the Koeksister in its native country: an Afrikaner version, which is normally twisted or braided; and a Cape Malay version, which is spicy and sprinkled with coconut. Both are served commonly at teatime.
The Berliner is a traditional German doughnut with no hole. (Photo: Oliver Hoffmann/Shutterstock)
The Berliner, a wildly popular German jelly donut, can be traced as far back as the 15th century. As with the Dutch Oliebollen (above), these hole-less donuts are often enjoyed on New Year's Eve – but you might want to tell your hosts to "hold the mustard" before biting into one. It's a common practical joke in Berlin to fill one donut with mustard and hide it among the jellies. You've been warned!
Vada is a savory donut served in India, often made with lentils. (Photo: Alexandra Lande/Shutterstock)
It's fried, round and can be found in almost every street market stall and railway station across southern India. Vadas are also commonly prepared at home, for breakfast, but usually not the main course – they're often paired with dosa (fermented crepe) or pongal (breakfast rice). They're generally prepared from a thick batter of fermented black gram or Bengal gram, seasoned with cumin, onion and curry, and deep-fried.
Quesitos, Puerto Rico
Quesitos are a popular Puerto Rican pastry made with cheese, vanilla, eggs and sugar. (Photo: Taste&SeePastry/Flickr)
Hey, there's cheese in your donut! The quesito (literally "little cheese") is one of Puerto Rico's most popular pastries, found in almost every bakery and "bombonera" (which means "cozy sweet box") around the U.S. territory. The ingredients are few and simple – vanilla, eggs, sugar for the dough, and cream cheese (or any other type of soft cheese you prefer) for the filling.
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