Kansas City is home to many different cultures and their beautiful, and often delicious, traditions are carried on today in a variety of ways. Guest blogger Diana Lambdin Meyer shares with you the story of one such tradition that has been delighting the tastebuds of Kansas Citians for years: the dessert bread known as "povitica"!
It's pronounced "po-va-teet-za" and it's an eastern European bread that has become a staple in many Kansas City homes because of the many Eastern European immigrants who settled in the Strawberry Hill community of Kansas City Kansas. In the Croatian language, povitica means “rolled” or “swirled.”
Each loaf is handmade and weighs in at a healthy two-and-a-half pounds. In December, they are baking about 6,000 loaves a day for holiday gatherings. With lots of sugar, cinnamon, nuts and cream cheese, povitica is considered a dessert, but many also slice it and serve it for breakfast. We’re told the best povitica is served six days old.
The company offers 12 flavors, but the most popular is the English walnut. A trivia tidbit for you: Strawberry Hill Povitica is the 19th largest consumer of walnuts on the planet.
The company is family-owned and you’ll see at least two or three of the family working in the kitchen any time you visit. Sure, O'Leary is an Irish name, but mom was the family member from Croatia. The new location in Merriam has a big window where you can watch the povitica being made. On one wall, you can see pictures of the family when they came from Croatia and read more about their journey. Mamma O’Leary’s rolling pin is also on display.
The O’Learys ship their povitica around the world, but most goes to local grocery stores in the Kansas City area in fun display cases with big strawberries on them. It’s more fun to stop past the bakery in Merriam (7226 W. Frontage Road) and see how povitica is made!
Diana Lambdin Meyer (@mojotraveler) is a freelance writer based in Parkville and author of the travel app “Kansas City Uncovered.” She regularly writes about shopping and off-the-beaten path escapes on her blog www.mojotraveler.com.