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Baklava baked fresh for Greek Festival May 20, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Greek Diaspora Festivals.
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The heavenly aroma of freshly baked bread and the snap of cinnamon infused the air in the basement of Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church one recent morning.

Women in hairnets stretched out paper-thin sheets of phyllo on long tables, basted the dough using brushes drenched in syrup and built a mountain of baklava. The melodic voice of a cantor, piped down from the morning service in the church above, laid the beats to their lively Greek chatter. 

With an army of volunteers, most of them born in Greece, Cleveland’s oldest Greek church recreates the flavors and sounds of the old world every Memorial Day weekend.

Its Greek Heritage Festival, which kicks off the ethnic-festival season in Northeast Ohio, presents Greek bands, crooners and dancers. But many festival-goers come just for the food: the made-from-scratch souvlakia, mousaka, gyros and pastries. The women of Annunciation expect to serve about 30,000 dinners during the four-day festival. New this year is an arts-and-crafts fair offering products made in Greece.

The festival runs from 11 a.m. to midnight Friday, Saturday and Sunday and from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday at the church, 2187 West 14th St. at Fairfield Avenue, in Cleveland’s Tremont neighborhood.

Countdown to the UEFA Champions League Final, Athens, Greece May 20, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Football.
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UEFA CHAMPIONS LEAGUE ATHENS FINAL 2007

The 2007 UEFA Champions League Final, the top European Club competition, will be played in Athens, at the Olympic Stadium, on 23 May 2007, at 21:45.

athensfinal_07.jpg

The Final will be the pinnacle of the various events that will be held in Greece during the period leading to May 23, such as the Cup Handover, the Draw, the Trophy Tour and the Champions Festival.

The 2007 UEFA Champions League Final will give the opportunity to athletes, visitors and viewers from around the globe to experience unique moments in the Stadium that hosted the Athens 2004 Olympic Games.

athensoaka.jpg  The Athens Olympic Stadium, has gone under a massive upgrade and was re-opened in July 2004 ready for the Athens Olympic Games. It’s design is intended for athletics and it has a 72,000 seater capacity. The stadium is located in the area of Maroussi.

Meanwhile, UEFA have organised events for five days leading up to the match which will take place from 11am to 11pm at the Panathinaic or Kallimarmaro Stadium, Syntagma Square and Zappeion Park in Athens.

Related Links >
http://www.oaka.com.gr

http://www.oaka.com.gr/default.asp

www.uefa.com

RELATED READING > Read ESPN Soccer site’s article, which is quite helpful for all fans who may arrive or already arrived in Athens >

http://soccernet.espn.go.com/columns/story?id=431969&root=uefachampionsleague&cc=5739

Sampras beats Martin to win Athens Cup May 20, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Tennis Squash.
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Pete Sampras relied on his still powerful serve to defeat Todd Martin 6-3, 1-6, 10-6 Sunday in the Athens Champions Cup final.

Sampras fired two aces in the opening game, and continued to serve and volley crisply while breaking Martin in the fourth game to go 3-1 up. After a rain delay, Sampras held serve easily, and finished off the set with two aces.

Martin, an Australian and U.S. Open finalist, came back in the second set, breaking Sampras in the fourth and sixth games while holding at love two straight games to lead 5-1 before serving out. In the seesaw tiebreaker, used in Champions Series matches instead of a third set, Martin fell behind 3-0 before winning the next four points. Sampras then served four straight aces to lead 7-4, followed by two crosscourt winners. Martin hit long to give Sampras the title.

”The second set I didn’t think I played that poorly, he came up with some unbelievable returns,” Sampras said. ”He was sort of leaning and guessing in a certain way, and he was guessing right.”

Sampras’ victory was his second in two Outback Champions Series events this month, his first competitive outings in nearly five years.

”I feel really good, I played quite well. I have a few things still left in the game,” said Sampras, a 14-time major winner whose origins are from Greece. ”It’s special being here, seeing my heritage,” said Sampras, ”I plan on being back.”

Sampras played twice Sunday because of bad weather that interrupted the tournament. He earlier beat Jim Courier 6-2, 6-4 in a postponed round-robin match, racing to a 4-0 lead before holding off his former Davis Cup teammate to win Group A. Also Sunday, Magnus Larsson defeated Wayne Ferreira 6-4, 7-5 to take third place. This was the first international event for the U.S.-based tour, now in its second season.

White and Reds May 20, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Wine And Spirits.
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WHITE WINES >

Domaine Mercouri, “Foloi,” Roditis, 2005 > Domaine Mercouri is one of the most picturesque vineyards in Greece, and their Foloi, named for the plateau that the grapes are farmed on, is a light, easy-to-drink white wine. Grown in the Peloponnesse, a popular winemaking region, the Foloi has notes of melon and citrus and is comparable to sauvignon blanc or pinot blanc. While you can pair it with salads and mezze, it’s also perfect for a picnic in the park or just on its own.

Antonopoulos, Moschofilero, 2005 > Antonopoulos Vineyards makes a round, complex Moschofilero that’s very floral and slightly creamier on the palate, and tastes like a Gewürztraminer. It can be paired with heavier fish like octopus and salt cod.

Gaia, “Thalassitis” Assyrtiko, Santorini, 2005 > Assyrtiko is probably the best-known white wine varietal in Greece. It’s grown in Santorini, Greece’s island in the Aegean Sea known for its black sand and romantic vibe. The island’s wines tend to be mineral-enhanced and have a bit of brininess to them. The Thalassitis is clean and refreshing with slight sea saltiness. It’s been compared to Chardonnay from Chablis. Pair it with raw bar, crudo or shellfish.

RED WINES >

Domaine Karydas, Xynomavro, Naoussa, 2003 > The Xynomavro grape, which translates to “acid black,” is grown in the Naoussa region of Macedonia, and is one of the most popular red wine grapes in Greece. True to its name, it has a tannic, acidic quality that is very different in style from the juicy, jammy red wines many of us are used to. It’s often compared to Italy’s Nebiola because it’s fairly acidic and not very fruity. This wine has a luscious plum color, and a bit more juiciness and fruit to balance out the tannins. Pair it with a lamb shank or braised goat.

Domaine Skouras “Grande Cuvee,” Agiorgitiko, 2004, or Palivou Vineyards, Agiorgitiko, 2004 > The Agiorgitiko grape, also known as the St. George grape, is another of Greece’s favored reds and has been compared to an Italian sangiovese. Skouras’ “Grande Cuvee” is a gorgeous deep ruby color that’s nicely balanced between oak, spice and ripe fruit. Palivou, another producer in the region, makes an Agiorgitiko that’s a bit rounder and milder, with less spice and more cherry and dark chocolate. This wine would pair well with lamb, skirt steak, or even a nice juicy burger.

Tatsis, Goumenissa, 2000 > This bold red wine is a blend of 65 percent Xynomavro and 35 percent Negoska, a grape from Hungary, and is a big, spicy, juicy wine that has a slightly dry finish. Serve the Goumenissa with osso buco, mixed grill, grilled fatty fish, sausages, or a spicy veal soffrito.

easyCruiseOne on cruise in Greece May 20, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in News Cruises.
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easyCruiseOne set sail on its maiden cruise from Piraeus, Athens on Friday 18th May. It is the first time that easyCruise has sailed in the Aegean but it is an itinerary which has proved to be easyCruise’s most popular yet.

The new Greek itineraries take in Athens and the cosmopolitan islands of Mykonos, Paros and Ios as well as the undiscovered islands of Milos, Amorgos, Naxos, Folegandros, Sifnos and Serifos. The itineraries, which allows passengers to take anything from a weekend break to a two-week holiday, start from as little as £35 per person for a three night midweek break, based on two people sharing a standard inside cabin departing in October.

The cruises have been specifically tailored to offer customers the choice of holiday pace. The four-day weekend cruise, combines a mixture of lively islands where you can enjoy the nightlife as well as the stunning beaches.

On the seven day, ‘Alternative Aegean’ cruise, you visit six off-the-beaten-track islands giving you the chance to explore some of the most beautiful destinations in the Aegean Sea. While the ‘Classical Greece’ itinerary is perfect for those interested in, or studying classics and history.

The seven day itinerary takes you on a cultural tour of Greece, including such delights as the splendour of the Acropolis, ancient Corinth, the spectacular remains at Mycenae and Nemea, Ithaki, the island home of the hero Odysseus, the ruins of the Temple of Zeus and the origins of the Olympic Games at Olympia and the mountain serenity of Delphi with its Temple of Apollo. This is a voyage of discovery and there’s no easier way to explore so many ancient treasures in just seven days.

Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou, easyCruise founder commented: “It has always been my plan to offer a Greek itinerary for easyCruise customers as I know personally how fantastic Athens and the surrounding islands are, both for their cultural background but also for their diversity. One day you can be totally relaxed on a beach on a tranquil island, the next you can be immersed in the bustle of city life. We have been overwhelmed by the interest in our itineraries and are very pleased with how well it has booked. We plan to announce our 2008 season in Greece very soon.”

If you tire of sightseeing, there’s plenty to enjoy back on board. Passengers can take advantage of the new Apivita spa, de-stress in the sauna, relax in the hot tub, enjoy a leisurely meal or drink, sunbathe on one of the two sundecks, work out at the open air wellness zone or listen to the sounds of the resident dj well in to the early hours before heading back their cabins, available in twins/doubles, quads and suites.

easyCruiseOne’s Greek itineraries are now on sale for departures from 18th May – 30th March 2008. To book, visit www.easyCruise.com or see your travel agent.