It's almost time to say goodbye to September, and that means that it's time for one of our favorite local food events - Greek Fest! This was our third time attending the festival (see my blog posts from the 2012 and 2013 fests). Last year we missed out because I was about a thousand months pregnant and had no desire to remove myself from my couch for the day, but there was NO WAY I was missing it this time!
Knoxville's local fest takes place at the Saint George Greek Orthodox Church on Cumberland Avenue. Last spring, a devastating fire damaged the beautiful church and the sanctuary and damaged areas have since been boarded up until they can be restored. The tragedy made us even more eager to support the church and the festival this year.
If you are planning on attending next year's festival, here is the main website where you can find all of the information on dates, times, and parking.
We started with dolmades, or grape leaves stuffed with warm Greek rice that's been cooked with onion, fennel, parsley, dill, and lemon juice.
It was my first time trying this dish and it was wonderful! The flavors were light and fresh and it was the perfect way to kick off our lunch.
Next we shared one of our favorites - spanakopita, or spinach pie. Crispy phyllo layers stuffed with spinach, feta, onions, and a mixture of herbs and seasonings. This year's batch was top notch, soooo good!
We both chose a classic gyro as our main dish, which was an extremely generous portion of seasoned ground lamb and beef that is served with tomatoes and tzatziki sauce in a pita.
I'm still having dreams about this gyro - the pita was soft, warm, and pillowy and the meat had so much flavor.
Jasper wasn't having a great day, but a little while in the Ergo carrier calmed him a bit.
After walking around a bit and letting our lunch settle, it was time for dessert. This year we tried something new - loukoumades! This dish is comprised of little yeast-risen dough balls that are deep-fried, drizzled with honey, and finished off with a sprinkle of ground cinnamon.
There's never anything bad about deep-fried dough, and I appreciated that this dessert is not too sweet at all! Instead of getting doused with powdered sugar like similar desserts, loukoumades are kept simple with the drizzle and cinnamon. I'm a fan.
Our friends stuck with the delicious, classic baklava sundae that makes an appearance at every GreekFest! It's basically vanilla soft serve topped with crumbled baklava and finished with whipped cream and a cherry. Yum!
We usually end things with a perfect cup of Greek coffee, but it was a really hot day so we opted for something cool instead. Iced coffees and frappes were available so one could get his/her caffeine fix without overheating in the early fall heat.
We shared an unsweetened iced coffee with milk and a swirl of chocolate syrup. Mmm!
In addition to the wonderful food, there's an indoor shopping area where you can purchase jewelry, clothing, decor, art, and fresh Greek pastries (okay, so more food!!)
Finally, there's an outdoor stage where you can listen to live Greek music and dancing.
Even though we don't live in a huge city, I'm appreciative that we have festivals like this to expose ourselves (and our kids!) to the customs and cuisines of different cultures.
See you next year, GreekFest!