Sydney’s Polish community debates over which delis are the best or most traditional, and one of the only things it mostly agrees on is that the best paczki in town is at Copernicus. These deep-fried dough balls are like doughnuts but with richer, less oily dough. At Copernicus they come either dusted in powdered sugar and stuffed with home-stewed plum jam or glazed with icing.
Copernicus is owned by Marek Strzemkowski and his wife Maria. Maria makes all the cakes. Her favourite is szarlotka, a spiced cake with a shortbread upper layer that’s filled with stewed apples. A fundamental part of Polish culture is presenting a guest with cakes, tea and coffee. The most common of those is sernik, a cheesecake made with a fermented but un-aged soft white cheese (farmer cheese or quark). Copernicus’ version is zesty, but there’s no citrus – the tang is from the cheese.
Copernicus also does breakfast: cold cuts, cheese, bread and eggs. Strzemkowski bakes an incredible sourdough rye that comes sliced with a platter of locally produced Polish cured meats and cheeses, or as a sandwich. If you’re looking for something different, try szynka polska surowa, a cold-smoked, semi-raw ham. For home, get the homemade frozen pierogi (cheese or meat dumplings).