One last sweet indulgence?

Feb. 13—A seasonal favorite sweet is back on grocery store shelves for Fat Tuesday.

On Monday, the bakery departments of several local Tops markets, including the one at 5827 South Transit Road, were busy preparing Paczkis in their ovens and replenishing the stock on display at the each store's entrance.

Pronounced "punch-key," the jelly-filled Polish doughnuts are a mainstay of the annual celebration that takes place the day before Ash Wednesday.

"I've been in the bakery department for 14 years and we've made them that whole time," Krystal Urtel, bakery manager at the South Transit Road store, said.

At this time last year, Urtel said they had made more than 4,400 paczkis, along with almost 2,000 of its German counterpart, fasnachts. She anticipates that they will hit similar numbers this year.

Ahead of today, it was "all hands on deck" in the bakery department to coat the doughnuts with sugar, apply the glaze, insert the fruit filling and put them in the oven.

"I'm having someone come in (overnight) just to make paczkis...These will probably all be gone by tomorrow," Urtel said on Monday.

Among the six different fruit fillings used in the Lockport Tops bakery, one of the biggest sellers is the traditional lemon-filled paczki. Urtel noted that the less traditional custard filling has also been a popular choice this year.

The store began baking and selling paczkis a little earlier than normal this year, starting at the end of January, since the Lenten season has a relatively earlier start this year ahead of Easter, which falls on March 31.