The 32nd Annual Taste of Greece Festival is returning to Irvine from June 25th-27th, 2010. The festival will be held at St. Paul's Greek Orthodox Church (4949 Alton Parkway, between Culver Drive and Jeffrey Road, Irvine, CA 92604). More than 11,000 quests are expected to attend the three-day festival, which will feature Greek cuisine, wine tasting, live music, authentic Greek dancing and boutique booths.
Festival Hours are 5:00 PM-10:00 PM on Friday and Noon to 10:00 PM on Saturday and Sunday. Admission is $3 per person. Seniors 65+ get in free on Saturday from Noon-5:00 PM. Children under 10 are always free.
I was recently invited down to a tasting to introduce the media to all of the wonderful food that will be served at this event. The items I got to try are below. I believe this represents most of the food that will be served, but not all of it.
SAGANAKI served with PITA BREAD
Kasseri Greek Cheese sautéed in butter, flamed with Brandy and finished with fresh lemon
Grilled homemade Greek Sausage served with Feta Cheese
Grape Leaves stuffed with a mixture of Lamb, Beef & fresh mint served with Avgolemono Sauce
Mixture of Romaine & Iceberg Lettuce topped with red onion, cucumbers, red & green bell peppers, cherry tomatoes, feta cheese, Kalamata olives, with a herb vinaigrette
Skewered Chicken seasoned with herbs marinated with olive oil and grilled to perfection, finished with fresh lemon juice
GRILLED LAMB CHOPS
(Affectionately known as ‘Greek Lollipops’)
(The Greeks version of Lasagna served with Béchamel Sauce)
A spinach pie laced with Feta Cheese & baked in a phyllo dough
Three-Cheese filling baked in phyllo dough
Delicate flavors of pastry phyllo layered with Walnuts & Butter, drenched in a Cinnamon Honey Syrup
A sumptuous sweet egg custard layered with pastry phyllo and enveloped in a Honey Syrup
(Powdered Sugar Butter Cookie)
A Butter Cookie traditionally served at festive occasions
(If it sticks to the roof of your mouth, it has been made correctly)
I tried all of the food above and it was all very good, although I wasn't a big fan of the Pastichio. Something about the nutmeg in it just threw me off. My favorite items were the Spanakopita, Tyropites, Kourambiethes and Loukanico. If I had to pick one item I liked the best, it would be the Loukanico. The greek sausage had a wonderful flavor to it, kind of similar to Kielbasa. It tasted incredibly good with the Feta Cheese.
If you're a fan of Greek food and culture, make sure to get out to this event. It only happens one weekend a year!