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A Taste of Greece Festival

It’s that time of year again! Summer anticipation, the flurry of end-of-school events, triumphant graduation parties, grills fired up with all of Dad’s favorites for Father’s Day… but don’t let the celebrations stop there! Mark your calendars for the A Taste Of Greece Annual Festival coming up next weekend at St. Paul’s Greek Orthodox Church in Irvine. This is the 33rd year for the popular street fair type festival where Greek cuisine and hospitality are on full display and you’ll be able to savor the abundance of Greek culinary delights.

Last year I was among the fortunate foodies to attend a preview dinner for the festival – feast your eyes on some of the Greek specialties that you’ll be find at the festival. What were my favorites? No question about it, the Saganaki (above) is forever imprinted on my taste memory – creamy Kaseri Greek cheese sautéed in butter, flamed with Brandy and finished with fresh lemon! *swoon*

And the Spanikopita was the best I’ve ever had – made with fresh blanched whole spinach leaves.

But damn, I love sausage, and the juicy, grilled  Loukanico -  infused with coriander, orange peel and garlic and served with Feta cheese is making me hungry as I’m writing this!  It’s one of the many gourmet sausages made by Mad Mikes right here in Orange County.

Can’t forget the Dolmathes made with fresh grape leaves.

Then there was the Chicken Souvlaki and Lamb Lollipops, oh my!

Not to mention, the Pastichio (Greek lasagna) and Tiropites (three cheese filling baked in phyllo dough),  and the desserts! By this time, it was too dark to get decent photos of the melt-in-your-mouth  Baklava, Kourambiethes (butter cookie served at festive occasions – similar to Italian Wedding cookies) and Galatobouriko – we all had fun learning to say this :-) , a sumptuous sweet egg custard layered in phyllo dough and honey. You’ll just have to go to the festival yourself to experience them!

OR, Cathy Thomas is hosting a free Taste of Greece demonstration at Bloomingdales, South Coast Plaza at 2:00 p.m. this Saturday, June 18th where she’ll be cooking up traditional Greek tiropites, grilled lamb chops, and saganaki!!!

Our sensory journey into Greece was orchestrated by none other than George Kookootsedes, Executive Chef and Culinary Director for A Taste of Greece. George, best known as owner of two of Orange County’s legendary restaurants, Chanticleer and John Dominis, was poetry in motion as he whipped up each traditional Greek meze using just a grill and hot plate. His passion for his country and its food and wine was unmistakable as he described each course and educated us on the premium Greek wines being served. Thank you, George! My taste memory is working overtime now :-)

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A Taste of Greece Annual Festival

St. Paul’s Greek Orthodox Church

4949 Alton Parkway (between Culver and Jeffrey)

Irvine, CA  92604

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15 Responses to “A Taste of Greece Festival”

  1. Jeanette
    June 17 at 9:42 am #

    What fun – a Greek festival! We have a few around here, but nothing as elaborate as yours – wish I could be there!

  2. RavieNomNoms
    June 17 at 12:52 pm #

    Looks like a ton of fun!! Hope you have a great weekend!

  3. This looks like so much fun! Wish we had a festival like that around here!

  4. pachecopatty
    June 17 at 2:35 pm #

    I love Greek food and would be so going to this Greek Festival, yum…maybe a little Greek dancing to burn off the calories???

  5. Liren
    June 17 at 5:37 pm #

    Oh, I remember Greek festivals back in NY, and I haven’t been to once since I move to California. Now I know where the party’s at! I’m swooning over those Saganaki, too. Boy oh boy.

  6. Jean
    June 17 at 7:01 pm #

    Oh, how I wish I lived close enough to participate in the festivities. I long to visit Greece but I would happily settle for enjoying its cuisine instead. All the food you highlighted looks delish. I don’t doubt you’ll have lots of fun this year, too.

    Have a great weekend, Priscilla!

  7. Jessica
    June 18 at 1:10 am #

    This is so exciting! I will actually be in Irvine that weekend! Thank you for letting us know. I would love to try the Loukanico!

  8. Angie's Recipes
    June 18 at 1:42 am #

    Looks like it will be flooded with tons of great food! Spanikopita look so great!

  9. What a fun event! I traveled to Greece for two weeks during college and loved it. The food is wonderful. I actually can never get tired of Gyros! Have fun and a wonderful weekend!!!

  10. Sara
    June 18 at 9:36 am #

    I wish I had a Greek Food Festival close to home too because I just love Greek food! Now I know I want to eat Greek tonight :)

  11. I’ve been wanting to go to that festival for the longest time. I love Tiropites, my friend made some for a dinner party once and I’ve been hooked ever since.

  12. Lindsey@Lindselicious
    June 19 at 10:31 pm #

    This looks like a delicious event. I love the photos- the first two were definately my favorite dishes. I’ll have to make it down to Irvine next year for this event, it looked like a lot of fun.

  13. kita
    June 21 at 7:36 pm #

    Oooh goodness. I missed the Greek Festival and the Italian festival in my area this year! These pictures make me so sad that I did too. Everything looks great.

  14. Magic of Spice
    June 23 at 2:58 pm #

    Looks like fun, probably not a whole lot of vegetarian goodies. But hey I can drink the wine :)

  15. Matthew mmWine Horbund
    July 19 at 6:17 am #

    Growing up with Greek neighbors, I developed an affinity for their cuisine. I am so jealous of your adventure. I wish I could go!

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