This weekend marks the 22nd year for the St. Nicholas Greek Festival,
For longtime festival fan
"I love all things Greek -- the food, the culture, the people. It is on my bucket list to visit there, and this year I actually might get to go," Sadler said. "The Greek Festival is always a wonderful event. Everyone is so friendly, the food is perfect and the atmosphere is just so happy."
While live music, traditional dancing and tours of the stunning
For serious foodies, the cooking demonstrations are a must.
Babson's specialty is baklava, an iconic Greek dessert built around paper-thin phyllo dough, chopped nuts and honey. While some versions call for pistachios, Babson prefers walnuts, but has been known to give it a Southern spin with pecans. The version she teaches is one she learned years ago.
"I was actually named after my grandmother, who came from
Among the trickier aspects she'll be sharing is the secret to cutting the distinctive diamond shapes baklava is cut into. If nothing else, she hopes to demystify the treat so people feel comfortable taking a stab at it in their own kitchens.
"One of the things, and this is why I enjoy going through the demonstrations, is that it's really not that hard. It's just a little time consuming," Babson said. "As I go through the steps and break it down for them, they usually say, 'Oh, that's not so bad.'"
Greek coffee, a potent brew made from finely ground beans brought to a boil in a specialized pot, is worth mastering. Babson said the lessons would extend into some of the lore surrounding the beverage.
"There's a tradition we do after we drink our coffee," she said. "What kind of design it makes in the bottom of the cup when it dries can tell what will happen in your life."
If you can only catch one session, Babson recommends steering toward the spanakopita class. The dish typically involves spinach, feta cheese and egg, and the version she'll be teaching is simplified by baking a large batch that's cut into individual portions.
"Even if it's the kind that you wrap in a triangle, that's not too difficult of a skill to learn," Babson said.
If cooking isn't your thing, be sure to make at least one pass through the dinner line. A drive-thru option exists for anyone in a hurry, with a sampler platter of pastitsio, moussaka, spanakopita, dolmades and tiropita for
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