This is my third year living in Charlotte, my second year attending the Yiasou Greek Festival https://yiasoufestival.org/. I enjoy the festival because I get to learn about and experience the Greek culture through food, cooking classes, witnessing the traditional dances, and through browsing the many vendors who display traditional jewelry and other items. The book store is also fascinating. This is where you’ll find reading materials, incense, cookbooks, children’s book, etc.
My favorite food offerings so far have been the baklava, the spanakopita, and the Loukamades. Baklava, a desert pasty, deliciously layered balance of sweet, savory flavors, is my must have food item of the festival. The sweetness is just enough and the spice of the clove is surprising in a good way. Sweetness and spiciness vary by recipe. Here, you will find the taste of cloves to be at the forefront. It’s not overpowering, just enough to counteract the sweetness of the honey. Spanakopita or spinach pie is my next favorite. They wrap the spinach and feta cheese in flaky phyllo. It’s warm, creamy, flaky, and just perfect! Last but not least, I suggest you try the Loukamades! Loukamades means fried dough. Every form of fried dough that I’ve experienced has proven to be a winner. And this fried dough is drizzled with honey!
The Yiasou Greek Festival is a highly anticipated event in Charlotte. Mark your calendar for the weekend after Labor Day!
On February 13, 2018, Birdsong Brewery had the brilliant idea to partner with local area bakeries to pair a few or their favorite pastries with their seasonal winter brews. Here were the pairings for the night:
Hibiscus Infused Little Room Blonde / Golden Cow Creamery Strawberry Ice Cream
Honey Pie Double IPA / Central Coffee Company Baklava
Bourbon Barrel Aged St. Tuber Abbey / FuManChu French Toast Cupcake
MexiCali Stout / Amelie's French Bakery Chocolate Éclair
I met some cool people at this event. We talked about our favorite breweries and brews found in and around Charlotte. The pairing idea was great. My favorite bite of the night was the Central Coffee Baklava. Last summer, I experienced authentic baklava at the Yiasou Greek Festival (September 6-9. 2018). Since that time, I've been on a quest to find that same flavor and consistency. Central Coffee delivered. The baklava was gooey and flaky with the perfect amount of sweetness. My favorite brew of the night was the Hibiscus Infused Little Room Blonde. It was very light with floral notes that did not overpower the overall flavor of the beer and paired perfectly with the Golden Cow Creamery Strawberry Ice Cream.
I enjoyed sharing my impressions and hearing the impressions of my tablemates. The pours were heavy and the desserts were full sized. Luckily, I paced myself and only took a few bites and a few sips of each pairing. Looking around the room, I noticed that others were doing the same. I think portions and pours could've been smaller. Overall, it was an informative and fun food and drink experience. I'd definitely be down to experience the next one!
Piedmont Culinary Guild Tastemakers took a tour of Reid's Fine Foods in SouthPark Mall. Founded in 1928, Reid’s is North Carolina’s premier specialty food store. Here, you can find fresh meats, prepared foods, wines, cheeses, produce, frozen foods, and much more. The SouthPark Mall location is the second under new management.
We were served Bloody Mary's from Gilded Beverage, a Charlotte based company that sources local ingredients for their drink mixes. I was never one who fancied a Bloody Mary, but this right here...changed my mind. It was perfectly balanced with the right amount of spice. I could easily enjoy a couple of these. I’d definitely add this my brunch drink list. Mimosas will always be my number 1.
We also enjoyed a custom made charcuterie board curated by Regina, meat and cheese extraordinaire. All meats and cheeses are locally sourced.
The finale was Reid's "Mashville" Hot Chicken, a deliciously seasoned chicken breast atop mashed potatoes and a fluffy biscuit finished with a honey and hot sauce drizzle.
Reid's Fine Foods offers daily specials and events. Check out their Instagram page for weekly happenings.