2013 Greek Festival…deconstructed!

If it’s the second weekend in February it’s the Greek festival at Saint Demetrios! It’s such an exciting event but there’s a tremendous amount of work involved.  I thought I’d bring you a “behind the scene” peek-see look.  All weekend the kitchen is slammed with people rushing in and out carrying scalding hot trays of succulent lamb shanks or pulling out of the many ovens trays of tender Greek chicken.

Chef Delcho in action!
Chef Delcho in action!

The amount of food that comes out of that kitchen is astounding!  On the other side of the kitchen counter is the baked goods area in the capable hands of our ladies group, Philoptochos.  In the days prior to the festival these ladies have mixed and rolled out cookies that only scream “homemade”!!  Hundreds of snowy white Kourabiedes are stacked waiting for a happy home.

The powdered suger butter cookies just melt in your mouth!
The powdered sugar butter cookies just melt in your mouth!

A fellow Greek school classmate of mine baked cakes from scratch for the festival!  No one asked her to.  But that’s the spirit of our volunteers at St. Demetrios.  That was Mary’s way of doing her part.

This ancient, moist cake is Karythopita.  Its principal ingredient is walnuts...finely chopped, NEVER ground!
This ancient, moist cake is Karythopita. Its principal ingredient is walnuts…finely chopped, NEVER ground!

The list of Greek sweets is almost but not quite endless!

The ladies offer you Diples, sweet, fried ribbons of pastry  splashed with a honey syrup, a sprinkling of chopped walnuts and finally dusted with a pinch of cinnamon.  Can you stand it?
The ladies offer you Diples, sweet, fried ribbons of pastry splashed with a honey syrup, a sprinkling of chopped walnuts and finally dusted with a pinch of cinnamon. Can you stand it?
Chocolate Baklava.  We have without chocolate if you're watching your weight.
Chocolate Baklava. We have without chocolate if you’re watching your weight.

The Greek festival is where you see family members savoring time with each other.  Mom will keep a watchful eye on the children who dance while Dad might help out in the Gyro or Souvlaki booth.

Have you ever seen a more beautiful mother-in-law daughter-in-law team?
Have you ever seen a more beautiful mother-in-law daughter-in-law team?

And what goes perfectly with a Frappe, the Greek equivalent of iced coffee?  Loukoumades!  Soft, round nuggets of dough dropped into vats of boiling oil and fried to golden perfection.  And being Greek you HAVE to gild the lily!  The hot balls are quickly tossed in a honey syrup, then strewn with chopped walnuts and finished with cinnamon.  It’s truly a bowl straight from heaven!

I want this machine!!!!
I want this machine!!!!
And I WILL have Loukoumades!
And I WILL have Loukoumades!

The music plays joyously from speakers well-placed under the tents urging a quick dance with a friend and then a longer drink to catch up.  The kids who dance with the church have been together sometimes since they were toddlers!!  They love to dance, in costume and out, at parties and celebrations.

Handsome Greek boys!
Handsome Greek boys!

All the kids take pride in their costumes, most handmade in Greece, all have meaning.  Ask any one of these kids where their costume’s from and is there any significance to the braiding, the coins or the pleats and they will give a quick lesson.  But in costume or out they truly love dance.

Dance hard and dance fast!
Dance hard and dance fast!

It’s just terrific.  The friendships are lifelong and many of the young people you see come back from college on their own to help out at Festival.  It’s what we do.

Been dancing since grade school and now...college!!
Been dancing since grade school and now…college!!

Dinner’s on and the lamb shanks at St. Demetrios festival are legendary.  The size of a caveman’s club, this is one succulent, fall-off-the-bone tender feast.  Served with Greek orzo, Krytharaki, and a Greek salad you’ll be begging for mercy.

Battle of the Titans!
Battle of the Titans!

There’s spinach pie, Spanakopita and cheese pie, Tyropita.  We have Moussaka, Gyros and Loukaniko, that exquisite Greek sausage flavored with orange peel, flambeed in Metaxa, Greek brandy and served on warm, soft pita bread.  We have a Greek market with gorgeous Greek olives and Greek cheeses that are like nothing you’ve ever had before.

Manouri, Mizithra, Kefalograviera...you can get it all.  Right here.
Manouri, Mizithra, Kefalograviera…you can get it all. Right here.

There’s really something for everyone.  There’s plenty of room to spread out.  Pick up a bottle of wine or couple of Mythos beers,

IMG_4126

gather your parea, your group of friends

Your friendly bartender will help you make wise choices!
Your friendly bartender will help you make wise choices!

and spend a day or two with us as if on an island in Greece. Yassas!

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