Communities across the United States are holding food festivals featuring authentic Grecian cuisine.  In San Bernardino, Calif., about a hundred food lovers attended a Greek culinary event at the annual Greek Fest on the Hill.

Nearly a hundred attendees enjoyed traditional Greek delicacies such dolmathes, stuffed grape leaves, seasoned rice, spanakopita or spinach in crispy phyllo dough and gyros.  The festival has been taking place every year in some shape or form since the 1940s, said parish leader John Alexandres, who is simply known as Father John.  “We’ve had Greek immigrants here in San Bernardino, I’d say since the ’30s’,” said Father John. “The thing about Greeks is the coming together of the community to share their culture and religion and food and we want to share this with everyone as well.”

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Kefa is a Greek word usually said with gusto and happiness.  It can also describe people’s reaction when indulging into mouth-watering rustic subs and moussaka.

“No matter where in the world we Greeks wind up living, it is important for us to maintain that sense of Greek identity—to recognize it in each other and to share it with others,” according to Gus Theodoro of Krinos Foods, which is North America’s biggest supplier of Greek specialty food items.  “One way we do that, of course, is through sharing our love of Greek food. For many of us Greek-Americans, our traditional foods have become the strongest metaphor we have for what it means to be Greek.”

Kalamazoo, Mich. also celebrated its own Greek food festival.  Dozens of food connoisseurs scarfed down honey, philo dough and casseroles seasoned with nutmeg, along with other Greek dishes.  The desserts included loukoumades which are Greek donut holes dipped in honey.  The spanakopita is a pie made of spinach wrapped in layers of philo dough mixed with dill and feta.

The 37th annual Kalamazoo Greek food festival was sponsored by Theo’s & Stacy’s Restaurant and drew a big crowd for lunch.

“Does anyone wonder why, when we Greeks get together, the first thing we do—sometimes the only thing we do—is eat and drink?  It’s the way we share our identity, our Greekness,” according to Theodoro.  Krinos Foods is seeing a significant uptick of orders for specialty food items due to the Greek culinary events going on throughout North America.

Steubenville, Ohio will have its 27th annual Greek Festival from June 11 to 15.  The event will offer a variety of authentic Grecian food such as roasted chicken, plaki, lamb stew, souzoukakia, loukaniko, moussaka, gyros and Greek salad as well as Grecian pastries like baklava, diples, hot loukoumades, galaobouriko, Soula’s baklava sundae, baklava, kataifi, chocolate baklava, rice pudding baklava cheesecake and Elena’s raisin cookies.