For those trying to celebrate Fasnacht Day in Philadelphia, there are a surprising amount of Dutch and German bakeries ready to fill your order. Most people know the Tuesday before lent as "Fat Tuesday" or "Shrove Tuesday," but for the Pennsylvania Dutch and German descendants, it is Fasnacht Day after the rich, authentic donut they create.
In Lehigh County, Emmaus Bakery celebrates Fasnacht Day by selling over 38,000 of the sweet treat. According to their website, for the Pennsylvania Dutch the fasnachts are sold only on the day before lent. It's a tradition that started as a way to rid pantries of temptations like lard, fat and butter before Ash Wednesday comes and brings with it the fasting and contemplation of lent.
However, there's no need to travel to Emmaus, PA for fasnachts, or even to the home of the Pennsylvania Dutch. In Philadelphia there are quite a few shops to get your doughnut day fix.
An old-fashioned German bake-shop called Haegele's Bakery at 4164 Barnett St. has become quite popular in recent years for their two-day sale of authentic fasnachts on the day of Fat Tuesday (Donut Day) and the day before. According to facebook, they are cranking out their usual specialty today and tomorrow, according to their Facebook page. The fasnachts there are a "labor of love" with heavy cream in the dough, which is hand-rolled and hand-cut.
Beiler's Donuts and Salads in Reading Terminal Market on 12th & Arch Streets will introduce you to hand-rolled donuts as well. As another Pennsylvania Dutch bakery, they are likely serving up the specialty of the day. Additionally, they make 40 varieties of donuts to keep you interested.
Wursthaus Schmitz is a newer installment to Reading Terminal Market, but at 51st N. 12th St. inside the building, you can find fastnachts if you're looking. While not necessarily there just for the holiday, Wursthaus Schmitz as the younger sibling of Brauhaus Schmitz is dealing only in authentic German grub. There are some delectable meats available to go with your donut there.
Another great Dutch spot at the Terminal Market is the Dutch Eating Place. Simply yet aptly named, you can find authentic cuisine and probably the "fasnacht day" specialty. They also serve an amazing apple dumpling with heavy whipping cream for days that aren't celebrating the donut.
If you are hunting for a bargain, the option is available to forgo tradition and visit Krispy Kreme. Locations in the Philadelphia area, which include Havertown, Bensalem, Fox Chase and Collingswood, NJ, will be doling out one free original glazed donut to make sure their customers have a happy fasnacht day. For more information please visit www.krispykreme.com.