Every year, the Santa Cruz Greek Festival draws more than 10,000 visitors. But not all Greek food fanatics like the big crowds; luckily, the good folks at the Prophet Elias Greek Orthodox Church, who organize the festival, also have the much more intimate Eat Like a Greek Food Fair, which returns this Friday, Saturday and Sunday (May 16-18), and is held in the church’s courtyard. We interviewed volunteer organizer Athena Wolfe about what people can expect.
GT: What’s something new you’re offering at this year’s Eat Like a Greek Food Fair?
ATHENA WOLFE: We’re offering Greek yogurt parfait. One of the parfaits we’re offering is the sour cherry parfait. The sour cherry mix is like a sweetened marinade sour cherry that comes directly from Greece. It’s very popular there. We’re going to offer it with Greek yogurt and potentially some other ingredients on top. And we’re going to do an organic blueberry, local honey, walnut Greek yogurt. We’ve never done those before.
I love Greek desserts, and you have a couple of new ones this year. Tell me about one of them.
The one that’s least well-known is the revani. I would liken it to like an Italian polenta cake. It’s got honey and lemon and cornmeal. It’s not grainy like polenta cake, but it is something like that. I think I’m going to serve it with fresh fruit, and mint compote on top of that. It’s great with a Greek coffee.
I understand you are expanding your alcohol selection as well.
Yeah, we are adding wine this year. We’ve never done that before. Greece’s wine industry has really skyrocketed in the last few years. We wanted to bring more premium products to the food fair. I thought that wine is a perfect place to start.
What dish are you looking forward to?
Meat moussaka—always the meat moussaka, hands down. I never make it, because it’s very time consuming. And the béchamel sauce, the creamy cheesy sauce that goes on top—in my opinion, it’s difficult to get right. And I think, personally, the chef in our kitchen does an amazing job, so every chance that she serves it, I’m always eating it. It’s the only time I eat it. I won’t order it in restaurants. It has a meat, tomato and eggplant base. It’s got onions and spices in it. And it has a thick layer of béchamel, eggs and milk and cheese essentially, but cooked to a lightness. You eat it all together. It’s just delicious. You only need a small piece. It is ridiculously rich. I think that’s also why I like it so much.
The Eat Like a Greek Food Fair will begin at 5 p.m. on Friday, 11 a.m. on Saturday and noon on Sunday at 223 Church Street, Santa Cruz, 429-6500.