Yes, those are whole lambs roasting over a spit–no Greek festival would be complete without that! Last weekend’s Annual Spring Greek Festival at Saint Sophia’s Cathedral was a Greekophile culinary paradise. There were so many options, ranging from the aforementioned lamb to flaky spanakopita (spinach-filled phyllo pie) to delectable Greek desserts. Here are some photos, for those of you who missed it:
I started my Greek culinary tour with something sweet: loukoumades, which are Greek donuts drenched in honey and cinnamon. The loukoumades arrived piping hot–fresh from the fryer. They were crisp on the outside and pleasantly doughey on the inside. The honey and cinnamon on top made them taste sinfully delicious, yet light. My roommate and her friend easily polished off over a dozen loukoumades; they were that good.
After my loukoumades appetizer, I headed over to the gyro stand for some lunch. Despite the long line, it was well worth the wait. I loved the generous amount of tzatziki scooped onto the gyro, and the meat was tender and flavorful (albeit a bit greasy). And for $9, the gyro made a relatively cheap and filing lunch.
I couldn’t leave without sampling some of the delectable Greek pastries on display. There were some that I was more familiar with than others. Baklava–thin layers of phyllo dough filled with walnuts and honey–looked incredibly flaky and tasty, but I wanted to try something I’d never eaten before. I chose kadaifi, which is very similar to baklava except that it uses shredded phyllo dough instead of sheets of it (shown in the photo directly above). The kadaifi looked like little birds nests, and the texture was quite enjoyable. Inside, it was filled with a mixture of walnuts, spices and honey.
I also bought some karythopita, or spiced walnut cake. It reminded me of a lighter, honey-soaked fruit cake (minus the fruit of course). If you’d like to try making these Greek sweets at home, click here and here for recipes.
The Greek festival was a delightful way to explore Greek cuisine and culture (though my one regret is that I missed the Greek dancing!). I hope to be back next year to get my “ompa” on.