The great kolache debate

Poppy seed and blueberry kolaches on a baking tray. (Photo from Wikimedia Commons)

Years ago, state Sen. Frank Kloucek, D-Scotland, lost his effort to designate the Czech pastry known as a "kolache" as South Dakota’s state dessert. Instead, legislators chose the German dessert called "kuchen."

Apparently, Kloucek has never gotten over that defeat. He’s still trying to use the Legislature to promote the kolache, which is a staple of the Czech Days celebration held each year in Tabor, one of the towns in his legislative district.

With the dessert designation closed to him, Kloucek changed course this year and recently introduced Senate Bill 117 to "designate the kolache as the official state pastry."

As reported by Pierre’s Capital Journal, Kloucek was stymied once again.

“My mother was born in Italy, and her father was a baker, and he made a mean cannoli, which is a pastry,” said Sen. Tom Nelson, R-Lead, who wondered why the kolache should be chosen over the cannoli.

“The bagel, that really comes from the Jewish ghettos of northern Europe, is much better known. If we can’t have the cannoli or the bagel, why the kolache?” asked Sen. Stan Adelstein, R-Rapid City.

The Senate Commerce Committee defeated Kloucek’s bill on a 4-2 vote. Undaunted, the Czech Warrior vowed to continue the fight.

“It’s not dead yet,” Kloucek said. “This is only the first round of the kolache wars.”

About Author

Seth Tupper

Seth Tupper was born and raised in South Dakota and earned a bachelor's degree in journalism from South Dakota State University in 2001. After college, he worked at a newspaper in Minnesota and then returned to South Dakota in 2003 to join the staff of The Daily Republic in Mitchell, where he is currently the publisher. Seth has won numerous awards for his writing, including the 2007 Outstanding Young Journalist award in the daily newspapers category of the South Dakota Newspaper Association's Better Newspapers Contest. Seth's day-job and freelance work have granted him opportunities to meet hundreds of South Dakotans and travel across much of the state. He also spends a lot of his free time exploring South Dakota's state and national parks, hiking trails and kayak-friendly rivers.


  1. Margaret Figert
    Margaret Figert 21 June, 2011, 18:35

    Well, maybe we could designate the “cankolgel” as South Dakota’s official pastry. Then, the S. D. State Legislature could sponsor a state-wide contest among its bakers (home and commercial both) to create a recipe for this new delicacy.

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