Kringle on the Side of the Road

Does everyone know what kringle is? I didn’t until I moved to Wisconsin. One day at work someone said they were making a kringle run? Huh? I was an Illinois gal in Green Bay, Wisconsin  and I was just getting used to the language (bubbler = drinking fountain, soda = pop, Yah-hey = you betcha, Come here once = come here). You get the idea, so I wasn’t sure what a kringle run was, a visit to Santa? No, it was June. So I did what I usually do in these situations, I ask. The answer was that it was a really good coffee cake, that had different fillings and there were certain bakeries that specialized in making them. I felt I needed more information so I didn’t order one that day but fortunately my colleague who went on the “run” bought a few extra for the staff lounge so later in the week during my break I had some kringle.

Kringle, in the United States, turned out to be a hand-rolled Danish pastry dough, rolled and folded into a lot of layers, filled with various fruits, nuts or combinations of the two, shaped into an oval, baked and iced. It was very good and I made sure I ordered one on the next “kringle run.” I’m still not sure where they ran to, but Racine, Wisconsin, with it’s Danish-American cultural background is considered the epicenter of kringle. So maybe that was the destination.

There is your back story. Now about our unlikely appearance of kringle yesterday. Wednesday was a beautiful December day. Sunny, mild wind, upper twenties. We had heard that snowy owls had been spotted at the mouth of the Oconto River about 40 miles north of here on the west side of the bay. So, off we went with binoculars in hand. Most of the trip is on a 4 lane highway (Hwy 41) that goes through some sparsely populated areas. There are gas stations and firework stores and farm implement businesses but you have to exit and go into the towns along the way to find more interesting shops. About 30 miles out we spot a big billboard: Danish Kringle – Old World Pastries – next exit on East Frontage Road.

picture from "Old World Pastries" facebook page

What? We passed the exit but spotted the shop on the frontage road and agreed to stop on our way home. This just seemed so weird to us that out here, sort of in the middle of nowhere, there would be a pastry shop. Bait shop, sure. A bar, yah-hey! But pastry? Of course the word kringle had us hooked. On the way back we watched for the store front we had spotted on our northbound trip. Good thing too since there was no big billboard on the southbound side of the road.

picture from "Old World Pastries" facebook page

It looked like an old saloon that you would ride up to, secure your horse at the rail and saunter in. We sauntered in. Once in the door we went to our left to the small retail space. Next to the counter was a glasscase with one shelf of bite size kringle and two shelves of long kringle. These weren’t in the traditional oval but they looked good and a lot of them were already gone. So with a choice of one raspberry, one blueberry, one apple and one caramel apple we went with the latter. A young man came out from the kitchen, I assume, bagged up our choice and took our $6.00. We remarked that he probably didn’t get much foot traffic out here. He disagreed and said the day before Christmas he sold 97 kringles. I guess someone knows they are there or they all saw the billboard like us. This morning when I came down for breakfast half of the kringle was already gone. Yes, our flavor choice was a success.

Each bag was individually labeled

Half was gone before I got up.

So we may not have found the owls we were seeking but we snagged a pretty good breakfast. Next time you’re driving north on Hwy 41 in Wisconsin, watch for the billboard.

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