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More potica! Iron Range baker's old world recipe becomes holiday's hot treat

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What started as a home baking business has expanded with a statewide reach as demand for the holiday delicacy known as potica continues to grow.

The Duluth News Tribune reports that Czecholovakian immigrant Jan Gadzo began producing the walnut and poppy seed potica at his home in Chisholm. In 1999, he expanded, starting his Andrej’s European Pastry to produce more of the treat, based on his family recipe.

“Sales go through the roof during Christmas time,” Gadzo said. “But people in the metro area are more up to buying it year-round.”

Gadzo moved twice to bigger commercial kitchens on the Iron Range to keep up with customers who loved the pastry, pronounced Poe-TEET-sah. The traditional Czechoslovakian nut roll features layers of raised sweet dough stuffed with ground walnuts. Served in slices, it's a traditional treat for the holidays.

This year, for the first time, the company partnered with Tobies Bakery in Hinckley to produce larger quantities of the gourmet ethnic pastry. WCCO reported Gadzo now creates 20,000 loaves of potica a year.

Tobies previously produced potica for its own retail bakery store, but now are making 200 potica rolls several days a week to distribute to more than 60 Minnesota groceries. Tobies has hired a few more employees to handle the added workload to make the potica.

Gadzo demonstrated his technique with the delicacy, with a cooking demonstration on KARE 11. The station reported that in addition to sales at Tobies, the potica is available in the Twin Cities at Lunds, Byerly's and Kowalski's Markets, the Lakewinds Natural Foods stores and at the River Market Community Co-op in Stillwater.

In the northern Minnesota, they’re available at Super One Foods stores and Mount Royal Fine Foods in Duluth. A distribution service handles the shipments to Wisconsin, Illinois, the Dakotas and Michigan. The rolls are priced from $11.99 to $12.99.

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