Thursday, January 1, 2015

Greek Festival At St. Sophia Greek Orthodox Church In San Antonio Texas

Back in October of LAST YEAR, since it is now 2015, Frankie and I went to a Greek Festival in San Antonio.  I had found out about it through Groupon.com and was super excited to go!

The Festival has been going on for 54 years at the St. Sophia Greek Orthodox Church in San Antonio, Texas, so they  must be doing something right! We went early and there were lots of people there and by the time we left it was packed!  It was a great experience.

Let me share some of what we saw.  There was all kinds of Greek food and beverages.  We did have some of the main dishes, but I think the pictures don't make it look all that appetizing so I will not be sharing those picture.  I will tell you what we had with links to recipes, though.
  • Souvlaki - marinated beef, chicken, or pork shish kabob grilled with Greek herbs and spices
  • Pastichio - baked macaroni layered with seasoned beef and cheese topped with a creamy bechamel sauce
  • Spanakopita - spinach with feta cheese and greek herbs baked in layers of phyllo dough
Now, as far as the coffee and desserts go, well those are very photogenic!  Let's start with the coffee.

Greek coffee is made like Turkish coffee in a briki, which is a small pot in which the finely ground coffee, water, and sugar, as desired, is all placed.  It is then put on a heat source, brought to a boil, taken off the heat to let the forth go down, repeat up to three times, and then finally poured slowly and equally into cups so that all have equal amounts of froth.

At the festival they were using a propane stove to heat the coffee.  It was interesting to watch them prepare the it.

Greek Coffe -  St Sophia Greek Festival - San Antonio Texas

And the final product?

Greek Coffee and a Koulouraki -  St Sophia Greek Festival - San Antonio Texas

Just a word of warning though, don't drink it down to the last drop unless you want a mouthful of coffee grounds!

Did you notice the cookie in the picture? (Of course you did, but I needed a segue.)

That cookie is called a koulouraki (plural is koulourakia).  It is a traditional Easter butter cookie twist sprinkled with sesame seeds and it was delicious!

They had other Greek desserts as well.  We had tickets left over from eating our meal so we bought a box of assorted pastries.  They are kourabie (almond cookies covered in powdered sugar), finiki (butter cookie dipped in honey and topped with nuts), koulourakia, and baklava (layered phyllo with spices, nuts, and honey).  I haven't meet a Greek cookie that I didn't like!

Kourabie Finiki Baklava and Koulourakia Greek Pastries -  St Sophia Greek Festival - San Antonio Texas

Now that I have spent this much time on the food and beverages, let me tell you about the other offerings at the festival!

There was a marketplace selling jewelry from Greece, t-shirts, icons, statues, etc. along with the food.  Downstairs there was a founders' hall with displays of items used in traditional Greek houses and more information about early Greek settlers in Texas and San Antonio.  There was a woman dressed in traditional clothing from Greece.  She was kind enough pose and I was brave enough to ask for a picture.

Woman in Greek Dress - St Sophia Greek Festival - San Antonio

There was Greek music and dancing.

Greek Dancers - St Sophia Greek Festival - San Antonio




One other event that was offered at the festival was a tour St. Sophia Greek Orthodox Church that was built in 1926.

St Sophia Greek Orthodox Church - San Antonio Texas

The inside was very traditional.  In fact, a few days after seeing it we watched My Big Fat Greek Wedding and the church shown there looked the same as St. Sophia's.

St Sophia Greek Orthodox Church Inside - San Antonio Texas

I will finish this post with one last photo from the church.  They had songbooks there in both Greek and English.  I thought it looked so neat and wanted to share!

Alleluia in Greek - St Sophia Greek Orthodox Church - San Antonio Texas

Next year, when the festival rolls around, maybe you can make it.  It is well worth it and so much fun!

My next posts will be dedicated to our Christmas trip to Poland.  I haven't even began to organize the pictures so it might be awhile.  But I'll get there eventually!

Until then!