Maybe so, if the the Retailer's Bakery Association here is successful in its latest foray into promoting bakery specialties.
The RBA's National Paczki Promotional Board is including kringles, a regionally popular pastry, in its annual push to promote paczki (pronounced poonch-key), the pre-Lenten treats that have heated up post-holiday sales for in-store bakeries in the last couple of years.
Paczki made the big time last year as more supermarkets across the country jumped on the bandwagon to promote and sell them, thanks in large part to Carl Richardson, former bakery executive at Farmer Jack, a division of Montvale, N.J.-based A&P. Richardson founded the National Paczki Promotion Committee, which was brought under the umbrella of the RBA and renamed the National Paczki Promotional Board.
"More chains are lined up to sell paczki this year and some have taken on king cakes, too," said Richardson, who heads the promotional board. "Stop & Shop [Quincy, Mass.] is one of them. And we're just introducing supermarkets to kringles."
The promotional board's aim now is to repeat its paczki success by taking other ethnic and/or regionally favored bakery products into the mainstream, tying them into holiday sales activity. Paczki had their origin in Poland, and enjoy a following in areas where Polish immigrants have settled.
This year, the kringle -- a rich Danish pastry that has a following in parts of the United States where there is a large population of Danish immigrants -- is being added to the ranks of paczki and king cakes.
Richardson said kringles generally are associated with the Christmas holidays. The buttery pastry, he said, "is not a typical coffee cake. It's a special pastry that was brought to this country and Canada in the 1800s."
Kringles are large, oval-shaped rings of extra-rich pastry filled with fruit and/or nuts and then sugar glazed. They weigh 20 to 30 ounces, depending on their filling.
A representative at Racine Danish Kringle, Racine, Wis., a manufacturer of kringles, described them this way: "They're made with 144 layers of dough and butter. Very rich, very flaky."
Kringles are as common as doughnuts in the Upper Midwest, where much of the population can trace its roots to Scandinavia.
"They're not really seasonal here. We sell them all year round," said Pam Vitale, bakery manager at an Eagle Food Centers store in Belvidere, Ill. "They're very good movers. Pecan and almond may sell a little better than the rest, but I sell them all."
There's a definite kringles season at a Cub Foods store in Joliet, Ill., according to bakery manager Janet Lange.
"Right about now [late November], sales start getting better. We sell about 24 of them on a weekend," Lange said. Lange said all varieties sell well, even a newly introduced chocolate-chip kringle.
Richardson pointed out that since kringles historically are associated with the holiday season, they make the perfect new product to keep sales hot right into the pre-Lenten days when pazcki fever takes over.
King cakes -- popular in New Orleans prior to Mardi Gras -- got a successful trial in supermarket in-store bakeries in different parts of the country last year, at the urging of the RBA's National Paczki Promotional Board, Richardson said.
It includes an order form for point-of-sale materials and consumer informational material such as a fact sheet illustrated with a stylized Christmas tree and snowflakes that's headlined, "What is a kringle?" There are illustrated fact sheets, too, on paczki and king cakes.
A listing of vendors and tips on merchandising also are included in this year's promo guide. For more information about the guide, paczki, king cakes and kringles contact the RBA at (800) 884-1500.