Guess what's in town this weekend?
That's right, BABY! The Greek Food Festival is in town!
I've waited a whole year for this! The local Greek Church hosts the annual event to share their culture with the locals. The event started about 30 yrs ago as a bake sale and has grown into a festival that brings thousands of people from all over the area. The festivities range from Greek folk music, dancers in costume, and of course - FOOD.
Half of the tents set up for the festival are reserved for gyros. People just can't get enough of them!
The most tender, thin strips of lamb are seasoned to perfection and grilled just right. Then they are placed on fresh, handmade pitas that are also seasoned. The gyros are topped off with fresh tomatoes, red onion, and homemade taziki sauce. Mmmmm!
Our next stop was for a basket of patates, or Greek fried potatoes. The ones served at the festival reminded me of pommes frites, but with seasonings instead of just salt. I wish I had tried to ask someone what seasonings were used on the food, but I was too preoccupied with the highlight of the festival: The Pastries.
The pastries are heavily guarded and patrons are kept in line, literally, to keep things from getting out of control. This process runs like clockwork since the pastries are so sought after. The lines are clearly marked and, as you can see, the pastry line is constantly full.
Here's the middle of the line, but we hadn't quite made it to the building yet.
I was hoping to get more photos of inside so the mounds of pastries could be seen, but I wasn't able to balance a camera and a tray of goodies very well. They handed me a tray and I walked swiftly through the line pointing and calling out which pastries I wanted and how many to load me up with. I was able to control myself pretty well. The pastries lasted us more than one day, so I'd call that a success in willpower.
I savored the handmade baklava and kataifi, which are like giant shredded wheat pieces that are full of honey and walnuts.
However, my favorite Greek pastry is kourambiedes.
This soft, delicate, almond flavored cookie is a half-moon shape and covered in sweet powdered sugar. It is also called a Greek wedding or Christmas cookie. I just can't get enough of them.
Sigh, the only sad part is having to wait another year...