Wednesday, November 30, 2011

OPA! Greek Holiday Style

As the holidays are steadily approaching, we reminisce on what we are thankful of, celebrate family and friends and spend time making memories with loved ones. With every holiday comes special traditions and celebrations, holiday meals - that almost always are specific by culture and family. Greek holidays are unique and exciting!

Many Greek Orthodox (and Catholic, or Episcopalian) churches have a particular saint that they honor in a festival and religious service. In Greece, a panagiri, or large feast & festival, occurs when a city or village celebrates religious people with the same name as the saint being honored. Many festivals are held on high points of elevation, or at a monastery. There are several of these through the holiday season. There are small herding villages and larger townships, such as Kozani, who specifically honor the shepherds that lit the bonfires in announcement of Christ's birth. Known as the Kladaries, there is an entire ceremony around this commemoration. Attendees can expect bonfire dancing, Greek dining, Greek wine and celebration - and the event is usually celebrated on the 23rd of December.

Greek Food plays a major role in Greek celebrations. While traditional stuffed turkey is always popular, most holidays have specific traditions and dishes. The slicing of vassilopita, or New Years Cake, is a desert specific to the Feast of St. Basil on January 1st. Later in the year, on Easter, a common Greek entrée served in celebration of Jesus Christ's resurrection is lamb.

While enjoying family and friends this holiday season – keep in mind that Ziziki’s also offers holiday catering for your event, or private dining if you prefer to dine with a private corporate party or your family. Opa!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Throwing a Wedding - Greek Style

My Big Fat Greek Wedding is a hilarious account of the planning of a Greek wedding and the culture, traditions (and people) that celebrate them. Greek weddings can be considered art…and in fact, are often called “wedding art”.

Greek weddings are often very different than traditional weddings; one of the most obvious ways being the color of the brides dress. In traditional Greek weddings, the bride wears a yellow or red veil that represents the fire that will protect the bridge from evil spirits. Often times the bride will carry a lump of sugar in her possession to ensure that she will life a sweet life with her future spouse.

Ever seen the group dance in a circle? The kalamatiano is a dance that occurs with the entire bridal party. They all join hands and skip in a circle, similar to Jewish weddings.

Of course, you already know that Greek cuisine is a delicious form of art. But Greek food at a wedding - serious OPA-factor. Candy-coated Jordan almonds, bread and cakes are all enjoyable dishes for Greek weddings. The food is the highlight of the celebration with Feta Cheese, Kalamta olives and tomatoes.  Tzatziki is the perfect start to the festivities which includes a special blended yogurt dip with cucumbers, crushed garlic and vinegar garnished with a blend of almonds. It is normally eaten with Pita Bread.   You must have the famous Greek Baklava at your Greek Wedding. The several layered pastry is filled with nuts and honey syrup.

When planning your special Greek Wedding (or any event, Greek or not!) keep ZiZiki’s in mind for the perfect event catering needs.