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Hallettsville bakes off 16th annual Kolache Fest, Saturday

By JR Ortega
Sept. 25, 2010 at 4:25 a.m.

Clay Rainosek, 10, of Hallettsville, looks to the competition as he stuffs his mouth full of Kolache during a Kolache eating contest at the 16th annual Kolache Fest on Saturday at Hallettsville KC Hall. While the festival did feature its namesake baked good, it also brought live music and a parade to Hallettsville this weekend.

HALLETTSVILLE - How do you like your kolache?

Does a fruity tinge of apricot or strawberry satisfy your palate?

How about cottage cheese?

Kolache lovers from across the area listened to Czech music, socialized with friends and without a doubt, enjoyed their favorite kolaches at Saturday's 16th annual Kolache Fest in the Knights of Columbus Hall.

But the event is about more than just loving kolaches, it's about celebrating Czech heritage.

Yvonne Yeoman and Yvette Hoffmann still can see their grandmother working up a storm in the kitchen as she baked fresh kolaches.

"It's like the dessert to have," Yeoman said.

The 36-year-olds are twins and held a demonstration at the festival.

The two, whose maiden name is Janecek, showed the crowd the family recipe and explained the process of making the kolache.

"Everyone has the recipe that they enjoy and they are very proud of what they can do and what they've created," Hoffmann said.

Janecek family gatherings usually involve kolaches, the two said.

Though their grandmother has died, they respect, pass on, and love the recipe she brought from the Czech Republic.

"It's such a matter of pride," Yeoman said.

Toni Luco, of Yoakum, waited for her daughter to finish ordering her 18 kolaches.

Her daughter, Amy Branecky, traveled from Austin to pick up one of her favorite childhood desserts.

She got several different fillings such as apricot, cherry and cottage cheese.

"It's a Czech thing," Luco said.

The warm bread filled with usually fruit, but sometimes meat, is a familiar friend for Branecky, who grew up eating her mother's kolaches.

"I've had them my whole life," she said.

Luco has not made kolaches in a while ever since her three children have grown up, she said.

Branecky plans to take the kolaches to some co-workers on Monday.

Chelsea Carroll, of Victoria, is still a child and growing up, but she loves her kolaches.

The 11-year-old Cade Middle School student won the kolache eating contest.

The contestants had to eat two lemon kolaches.

She really cares more for the cream cheese, but the festival was out.

"Was I the only girl," she asked her mother as she looked back at the contest table. "That's pretty un-lady like."

Her mother, Genevieve Carroll, is Czech and said the pastry is one of the centerpieces of Czech history.

"My husband takes vacation time just to come to the festival," she said laughing.



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