Bringing Home the Gold at the Kolache Olympics
Photos by Jason Tinder Peppermint bark kolache
The Kolache Factory held its annual Kolache Olympics yesterday, marking the eighth year that the company has held the contest to promote and develop new recipes for its stores. Each year, store managers and employees are invited to create recipes that will appeal to customers while still being relatively simple to bake each day and -- most importantly -- will fit neatly within the Kolache Factory's signature kolache roll. This was the first year that the recipe contest was open to the public, although most of the entries that made it past the testing stage and to the Olympics were still employee-created recipes. The winning kolaches go on to become the Flavor of the Month at area Kolache Factories and -- if they are popular enough with customers -- could eventually make it onto the full-time menu.
Kolaches were divided into two groups for judging purposes: A "chicken and/or no cheese" category and an "everything else" category. Andrew Eller, retail marketing director for the Kolache Factory, said that this was in response to customer requests for more kolaches with chicken and fewer kolaches with cheese.
Judges included Dana Tyson from the Sunny 99.1 FM morning show, John Harris from 1560 The Game, Jason Tinder, who won a contest on Twitter to become the wild card judge, and me. With almost a dozen kolaches in front of us, we began to eat our way through and determine a winner.
The "chicken and/or no cheese" competitors
Standouts from the group of 11 kolaches were Old Country Breakfast (with eggs, sausage and peppery gravy), Huli Huli Chicken (a hybrid Hawaiian/BBQ chicken entry), and Panaforte Italiano (Italian meats, cheeses and peppers). Despite its misleading name, the Potato Explosion -- which was composed of about 75 percent bacon, not potatos -- was also a favorite. Duds were the Spicy Tater Steak, Savory Orange Chicken and the Teriyaki Steak. Perhaps steak just doesn't belong inside of a kolache after all.
The "everything else" competitors
According to Eller, the Peppermint Bark kolache should be ready to go in stores by December, which couldn't be a more fitting time of year. In the meantime, keep your eyes peeled for those Sloppy Joe kolaches to start hitting Kolache Factory shelves soon...
For more pictures (including all of the kolaches that were in the competition), click here.