Certified craftsmen

Promoter of the old craft of cooking


Ilona Zapolskienė

We tell the story of the life of a national heritage product - šakotis. In the old days, it was a baumkuchen, but they didn't call it anything else. Indeed, it is one of the most splendid and oldest Lithuanian desserts. In the past, šakotis was placed on the table only on special occasions. Today, it is a little different. Industrial production is booming, and it is the real, homemade stuff that you have to look for. But we are lucky again - in the Alytus region, it is baked with love and it is delicious. Those who tasted it praised it. We are visiting Ilona Zapolskienė. We'll mention only briefly that Ilona, apart from this hobby, is also a cultural worker, a host of many events, and the owner of a great voice, but that's not what we're talking about this time..


You can book a shakotis by contacting Ilona:

Phone 862065784

By email [email protected]

Ilona herself knows a lot more about the fork than we can tell her. As she says: "Daugai in region of Dzūkija has always been famous for making šakotis. People used to order them from different towns and cities, mainly for weddings, christenings or other big occasions. It is a tall, forked, hollow, spruce-like confection. It is a traditional Lithuanian dish and one of the most common desserts prepared for weddings, christenings and other special occasions".

Ilona was four years old when she saw her mother, Genovaitė Zapolskienė, practicing this craft. She used to bake šakotis mainly for her relatives' weddings and christenings. Her mother's baked šakotis were tasted not only in Lithuanian towns and cities, but also in Leningrad, Moscow and further afield. The woman says: "Since it is difficult to bake šakotis on your own, you need more hands, because you have to use your hands to drip the dough and turn the roller, so when I was growing up, I helped my mother. Ilona had the special duty of taking over the tradition of making šakočis from her mother and using the recipe inherited from her mother Genovaitė from previous generations. As Ilona says: "There can be no mistakes, the recipe has remained the same for more than a century, it's a legacy, I wouldn't know any other way". After starting a family, Ilona and her husband Aidas took the initiative to build a portable oven and revive the old family tradition of making šakotis. Now, with the help of her family members, Ilona often treats her friends not only in Lithuania, but also in England, Norway and Georgia. I have to admit - I have tasted it too, and more than once.

Ilona resisted for a long time, but was persuaded by the director of the Culture Centre, Eglė Sereičikienė, to certify the product, and Ilona Zapolskienė was awarded a certificate of national heritage product in 2017 (šakotis category A). Let us end this lovely story with Ilona's wish for herself: "I am happy to be able to continue my family tradition, which I hope my children will also carry on".