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Dengler Domain: Kolaches

When traveling around the country or the world, it is always important to try new foods. Each part of the country has their own specialty like the South and barbecue, New York City and pizza, or coastal regions and fish. No matter where else one has these foods, it always tastes better in these regions. Tama County is also home to an important and unique food, kolaches.

This beautiful pastry with fruit on the inside is a perfect treat. I took for granted this delectable delight. After leaving Tama County, I assumed everyone knew what a kolach was and their deliciousness. Unfortunately, this theory was wrong. Whenever there is a chance to recommend trying a kolach, I always will.

This distinctive treat is a great part of Tama County. Few small communities have an unrepeated food item than the counties surrounding it. Yes, Cedar Rapids has a large Czech community, but for the kolach to still hold prominence in Tama County is impressive. Everyone has the person they know who makes the best kolach. For a couple of my birthdays, I have also asked for Tama County kolaches.

There are other kolaches outside of Tama County but with slight variations. For example, I have not investigated Cedar Rapids’ kolaches, but there are a couple places in Des Moines which serve kolaches, Coaches Kolaches and Cajun Belle. Both restaurants bring in the Texas style kolach which introduces meat and eggs into a kolach. Fortunately, the kolach with fruit is also served.

These present exciting options, but nothing holds to the standard of a Tama County kolach. Advertising the kolach superiority of Tama County is worth it. People love food, rural Iowa needs more visitors, and kolaches are the key to victory. Not enough people know about these sweet pastries. It is also a way to share Tama County history and knowledge which has been passed down throughout generations.

Nothing will be better than seeing a big billboard with a kolach and the words “Try a Tasty Treat in Tama County” near the busiest roads in the state, Interstate 80 or 35 in Des Moines. Humankind travels across the country and the world to eat Memphis barbecue or key lime pie in the Keys. It only makes sense to have Tama County be a place for all Iowans and Americans to enjoy the best kolaches in the country.

Sean Dengler is a writer, comedian, farmer, and host of the Pandaring Talk podcast who grew up on a farm between Traer and Dysart. You can reach him at sean.h.dengler@gmail.com.