A Little Bit of Greece Kicks Off Annual Food Fests
by Brenda Alesii,posted Jun 9 2011 12:00AM
The traditional Greek greeting that means “hooray” is an apt term for the beginning of the rich festival season in our region. The 34th Buffalo Greek Fest lit up the corner of Delaware and W. Utica last weekend as the Hellenic Orthodox Church of the Annunciation hosted the popular event for another year.
We worked through the throngs of people Saturday evening amid the authentic music pouring from the Greek dancers and musicians under the main tent. Event chairman Elias Pozantidis, who does a yeoman’s job each year overseeing the Festival, directed us to the enormous grill that featured Souvlaki on a Stick, marinated pork with olive oil and herbs, accompanied by a grilled slice of bread.
Great way to start our Saturday feeding frenzy.
From there we chowed down on a combination platter with lamb, beef gyro, spanakopita and salad. I love anything with eggplant so I ordered the Mousaka dinner, baked layers of tender eggplant and spiced ground beef under a pillow of rich béchamel sauce. My glass of dry red wine was a nice complement.
Then it was on to the star of the show: Loukoumades, the addicting, light fried dough balls dipped in honey and sprinkled with cinnamon. No matter how hard I resist, I can’t stop dipping into the overflowing container of warm Honey Balls. Against my better judgment, we took home a couple containers of Honey Balls and a serving of Kataifi, layered phyllo dough with walnuts, honey syrup topped with vanilla custard and whipped cream. Opa again!
Not only is the food filled with variety, but the dedication and hours of work invested by so many volunteers is truly heartwarming. From grandparents to youngsters, countless members of the church, along with other helpers, pitch in to make this event one of the highlights of the year. There is a real emphasis on culture, history and authentic entertainment, which make the Greek festival feel like much more than a foodie event. Entertainers came in from Albany and Toronto, world renowned composer Chritos Hatzis spoke eloquently about his own music and the work of other accomplished composers.
It’s no surprise that the Greek Festival is 34 years old and going strong every year.