The Texas Kolache Trail

Kountry bakery along the Kolache Trail
A strawberry and apricot kolache from The Original Kountry Bakery.

I’m pleased to tell you that I’m unofficially the youngest and only woman to ever complete the Texas Kolache Trail (that I know of). Now, I’m no stranger to kolaches, so this didn’t happen by accident!

What is a Kolache?

For those who don’t know, a kolache or kolace is a square pastry with fruit or cream cheese filling that’s popular in Czech culture. The dough of a kolache is dense and sweet. This differs from a danish which is lighter and flakier. Furthermore, Kolaches are not to be confused with pig-in-the-blankets which often contain meat and sausage, so please stop calling them a kolache.

Back to My Story…

Growing up in Hallettsville, Texas, I’d often be late to my first period English class because my mornings required a detour to the Kountry Bakery to get my hands on a few kolaches for breakfast. My town even celebrates the Czech pastry annually at the Kolache Fest.

So, when I saw a Kolache Trail pop up on ABC 13, I knew I just had to round up and head out as the little pastries have always had a sweet spot in my heart.

Initially, my foodie friend and chef, Jason Salas, and I planned to hit 9 different bakeries in one day. Realizing that was a little overly ambitious we cut it down to 6 bakeries. And at 8:30 AM on Tuesday, January 15, 2019, we hit the paved road in search of the best Kolache in Central Texas.

The Modified Texas Kolache Trail

Our route.

Contenders

Jason and I decided to each get two kolaches from each bakery and grade them based on their bread, filling, and size.

1. Weikel’s Bakery in La Grange, Texas

kolaches at weikel's bakery
Yummy strawberry and Apricot kolaches at Weikel’s bakery.

With excitement in our eyes and hunger pains in our stomach, we headed into Weikel’s bakery which sits inside a gas station just off 71 east to try their award-winning kolaches. We ordered up an apricot and a strawberry, which we decided would be the two flavors we graded for each of the six places we would stop at that day.

Maybe it’s because we were really hungry, or maybe it’s because Weikel’s kolaches were that good, but there was a lot of damns and oh-my-gaaawds from each of us with every bite we took.

Official Tasting Notes & Score
Bread: Delicate, fluffy, perfectly sweet (5)
Filling: Cream cheese & chocolate not as good as fruit. Not overly sweet, a little tangy. Gelatinous. Apricot is the best because fruit filling was actual fruit. (5)
Size: Standard size (5)

Official Score: 15

2. Hruska’s in Ellinger, Texas

kolaches at hruskas bakery
Hruska’s bakery in Ellinger, Texas.

Just up the road from Weikel’s, in another gas station, sits Hruska’s. Their counter space and selection were significantly bigger than Weikel’s with wild concoctions such as cream cheese strawberry puff and pineapple. However, Jason and I picked out a strawberry and an apricot and pulled up a chair to dig in.

Official Tasting Notes & Score
Bread: Dense, not much flavor. (2)
Filling: Apricot really gelatinous, sweater than strawberry, although not as fresh-tasting as the strawberry. (2)
Size: Standard size (5)

Official Score: 9

3. Original Kountry Bakery in Schulenburg, Texas

kolaches at the original kountry bakery
A delicious strawberry kolache from The Original Kountry Bakery.

The Original Kountry Bakery has a location in Schulenburg and is the sister to the Hallettsville location which I visited in the morning before school. It’s a quaint little Czechoslovakian place that looks like a small red barn and has an extensive kolache menu.

Official Tasting Notes & Score
Bread: Soft and delicate, but not as fluffy as Weikel’s (3)
Filling: Not too sweet, better than Hruska’s (3)
Size: Standard size (5)

Official Score: 11

4. Prasek’s Hillje Smokehouse in El Camp, Texas

kolaches at praseks
Creme cheese kolache at Prasek’s.

Another gas station, another bakery serving up kolaches. Apparently Prasek’s gets cleaned out real fast because when we got there around 4, it was slim pickings. Thus, we were only able to nab a cream cheese one to taste test.

Official Tasting Notes & Score
Bread: Lighter than other bakeries but not as good as Weikel’s (2.5)
Filling: Cream cheese hard to compare to strawberry or apricot (3)
Size: Standard size (5)

Official Score: 10.5

5. Vincek’s Smokehouse in East Bernard, Texas

vinceks kolaches
Vincek’s Smokehouse is just another stop along the kolache trail.

This was the first time I’d been to East Bernard. I’d describe it as a one-stoplight town, that seems really accurate. On the way in sits Vincek’s Smokehouse. There you can order up a variety of pecan wood-smoked meats and sweet treats such as pies, cakes, and you guessed it… kolaches.

Note: To be fair, we arrived at Vincek’s late in the day (around 5) and most of the kolaches were sold out. This may have contributed to the low score they received. Guess we gotta make another trip to confirm.

Official Tasting Notes & Score
Bread: Bread too dense and too sweet (0.5)
Filling: Not that flavorful. (0.5)
Size: Standard size (5)

Official Score: 6

6. Chappell Hill Bakery in Chappell Hill, Texas

chappell hill kolaches
This kolache concluded our trip.

Not gonna lie, when Jason and I saw the neon sign for Chappel Hill Bakery and Deli, both of us were frankly, a little tired and kolache’d out. However, neither of us are quitters and so we parked and headed on in.

Official Tasting Notes & Score
Bread: Good, not too sweet. (1.5)
Filling: Tasted fresher than Vincek’s, but not as fresh as Weikel’s or The Kountry Bakery (1.5)
Size: Standard size (5)

Official Score: 8

Aaand The Winner Is…

Weikel's apricot kolache
Hooray for Weikel’s!

Weikel’s bakery! To be honest, we could have just made the hour drive from Austin to Weikel’s and just came back when we were done getting our kolache fix. The other stops on the trail may have had a good filling or flaky crust, but none of them compared to the ones at this little gas station bakery.

Other Ways to Get Your Hands on Kolaches

Kolache Fest – Burleson County, Texas
Kolache Festival – Hallettsville, Texas
Best Kolaches and Klobasniky in Austin

Conclusion

Now you can head out to Weikel’s feeling confident that you are eating the best kolaches on the (modified) Texas Kolache trail. When you’re done devouring the tasty pastries, consider grabbing lunch at The Garden Co. to balance out the sweetness of the kolaches with some savory farm-to-table cooking.

Tell Me Everything!

What’s your favorite kolache place? What do you think about Weikel’s being the winner?

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