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Luscious layers of baklava October 18, 2006

Posted by grhomeboy in Greek Taste World.
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Expect to find many Greek classics such as pastitsio, spanakopita, dolmades, Greek salad, gyros and kourabiedes at this week’s Greek Festival. But be sure to leave room for the baklava. Opa!

Prepare your taste buds for one of Savannah’s most beloved cultural and culinary family events: the annual Greek Festival hosted by St. Paul’s Greek Orthodox Church. Expect to find many Greek classics such as pastitsio, spanakopita, dolmades, Greek salad, gyros and pastries such as baklava and kourabiedes. There also will be combination lunch and dinner meals, including Greek-style chicken and lamb as a main dish.

One of the main draws of this incredible gastronomic adventure is the sweet, melt-in-your-mouth baklava. Every bit of it is made from scratch. And making enough of this desired dessert to feed the thousands of festivalgoers is labor-intensive and time-consuming. It takes up to 24 volunteers and nearly a week to organize and make the baklava without using any commercial ingredients.

The baklava crew grounds hundreds of pounds of pecans by hand rather than with a food processor. This makes the nut-and-spice mixture that goes on the phyllo pastry layers less heavy.

The volunteers also clarify up to 160 pounds of butter, turn 200 pounds of sugar into gallons of sugar syrup and arrange thousands of sheets of phyllo dough on baking pans. They brush each phyllo layer with butter and the nut mixture, creating one of the most beloved exotic desserts of all time.

In the end, each baking pan will contain almost 3 pounds of nuts and 3 pounds of phyllo dough, for a total of 110 pieces of baklava. St. Paul’s expects to sell more than 20,000 pieces of the baklava, which is individually cut into the classic diamond shape.

What: The Greek Festival hosted by St. Paul’s Greek Orthodox Church
Where: Hellenic Center, 14 W. Anderson St.
When: 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Thursday-Saturday
Cost: Free admission until 4 p.m. Thursday and Friday. Requested $2 donation after 4 p.m. Food prices range from a Greek salad for $6, combo lunches for $7, combo dinners for $9, lamb and potatoes for $11. Pastries range from $1.25 to $2.50 and can be bought by the dozen.
Details: The three-day festival will feature Greek foods and pastries. There will also be a Greek marketplace and entertainment. Live music will include Nick Trivelas, “A Night In Athens,” with George Antonopoulos on the bouzouki. Three dance troupes will perform including Zoe, Ta Pethia, a children’s troupe, and the Zorba Dancers, a teenage group.
Take-out: Food can be ordered ahead for take-out during the festival. A drive-through pick-up service is available from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Thursday and Friday. To place an order or to have a menu faxed, call the Hellenic Center at 236-8256.
Church tours: The Rev. Vasile Mihail will host lectures on the Greek Orthodox religion, and other church volunteers will host hour-long church tours 5-7 p.m. Thursday and Friday and 1, 3, 5 and 7 p.m. Saturday.
Parking: Ample parking in adjacent church parking lots. Parking guides will be on hand to direct traffic.
For information: Call 236-8256 or visit www.stpaul.ga.goarch.org/SavannahGreekFestival.html

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