If you don’t have the $$$ to zip off to Prague to enjoy the delicious Czech treats known as kolaches, a short drive from Pittsburgh to scenic Beaver, PA will do the trick!
Dave & I, along with cameraman Bob Lubomski made the trip to Cafe Kolache to shoot a TV segment for our upcoming documentary “Eat Pennsylvania 2: The Second Course.” It’s the follow up to our Telly-award winning “Eat Pennsylvania” show we did a few years back. We’ll be shooting segments for it all across Pennsylvania up through the summer of this year. The hour-long food fun fest will be ready for air on PBS stations all across Pennsylvania this fall in beautiful high-definition and will feature around a dozen unique and not-to-be-missed food finds including Cafe Kolache.
Back to kolaches… what are they exactly? Well I’ll tell you this much… there are all kinds of them in flavors that range from savory lunch options to sweet breakfast treats. And it’s the fresh-baked, slightly sweetened yeast dough that is the secret. It’s light and delicious and made by hand daily. The lovely baker Erin was on hand today to walk us through the baking process. She even let me take a crack at filling a few.
What kind of flavors are we talking about? For breakfast alone there are combos that feature: bacon, sausage, eggs, jalapeno, ham & cheeses like colby, swiss and provolone. Alongside those morning morsels are traditional offerings featuring cottage cheese & lekvar (a much cooler word than prunes!), cream cheese, poppyseed and fruit-filled gems ranging from apple, apricot, blueberry, cherry, lemon, peach, rasberry & strawberry. Almost out of breath… but there’s more! Lunch combos featuring: chicken-fajita & jalapeno, pepperoni & cheese, ham & swiss, spinach & feta, veggie of the day & even a lunch kolache of the day. And wait for it… dessert kolaches! Apple caramel, Bavarian Cream with cherry, coconut cream, nutty turtle & rasberry cream cheese. And that’s just the kolaches. They also have soups, salads, sweets, teas and lots of other stuff including coffee, coffee & more coffee!
Cafe is in the title so you’d expect a ton of coffe, and Cafe Kolache delivers in that area too. Hot & cold espresso drinks, a wide variety of coffee blends and specialty coffee drinks of all kinds! And the beans are all fresh from Prestogeorge in Pittsburgh’s Strip District. So this is a LEGIT coffee shop for sure.
Still not sure of what a kolache is exactly? It’s not a pierogie, not a ravioli, not a sandwich. Think of it as sort of an Old World ‘hot pocket’ that’s part calzone, part pastry, part dinner roll. Does that help?
For lunch Dave had the Pepperoni & Cheese and I sampled the Spinach & Feta. A totally different eating experience than a calzone due to the slightly-sweet dough that was light as air and very soft. Loved it and the portion size is perfect and also very easy to eat with your hands.
One thing about the place was clear from the get go… this is a family establishment. Shop owner Kristi is joined by her husband and a very close and friendly staff which really made us and the customers feel relaxed and comfortable the minute we walked in. Not something you can really say about a lot of coffee shops. Of course the aromas of freshly roasted coffees and hot baked goods might have a bit to do with that as well!
Kristi also made sure we had plenty of tasty treats to take back to WQED! I LOVED the Bavarian cream with cherry kolache, possibly my favorite of the bunch. Some of the QED staffers were also raving about the nutty turtle flavor and the texture of the cinnamon rolls. I think I really need to go for a jog now. Bye. – Dave H.