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Sep 2, 2009 07:10 AM

Odyssey Greek Festival - Orange, CT

St. Barbara's Greek Orthodox Church in Orange, CT, will be holding their annual Odyssey Festival this weekend. They have the best Greek food I've been able to find in Connecticut.
Here is the link to the main page of their website:
But this is the page you're probably more interested in:
The food page leaves some things out. The last couple of years they have had saganaki (a pan fried sheet of feta), but they run out of this early in the weekend. Down in with the Greek pastries in the church basement they serve traditionally prepared Greek coffee (analogous to Turkish coffee). There is also a stand outside that serves frappe (a frothy, frozen coffee drink made in a blender from spray dried instant coffee, milk, and ice, with the option of sugar; Starbucks frappuccino is a really poor imitation of this traditional Greek summer drink).
Over the course of the weekend I usually end up eating everything they serve at least once, but my favorites are: tiropita, keftethes, pastitsio, souvlaki, kadaifi, and saragli. I always take home at least one loaf of their tsoureki (a slightly sweet brioche like bread flavored with mahleb) which is fantastic toasted for breakfast.
Make sure to visit both food tents as they have different offerings. Check out the schedule of events before you go. There are Greek cooking demonstrations, live traditional Greek music, and performances of traditional Greek dancing (they have different age groups of dancers with the oldest being in high school, and I think usually the earlier performances are the younger kids, and late performance is the high schoolers). Take a look inside the actual church building while you are there; the artist that painted it is exceptionally talented.

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  1. I also recommend attending Odyssey. It is one of southern Connecticut's only chances of tasting real Greek food. I used to live in the area and would go every year due to my love of the cuisine and lack of quality Greek restaurants in CT to indulge in (and I don't mean Greek pizza/gyro places).

    1. OMG Dan; you aren't addicted to their loukoumades? (not listed on your favs?) My next-door neighbors work that booth. I die waiting for them fresh.

      1 Reply
      1. re: cheereeo

        I love the loukoumades, but I don't have that much of a sweet tooth. Some of my friends and family, however, talk about the loukamades all year.

      2. Thanks for posting this--we missed the Waterbury Greek festival this year and I've never been to the Orange festival. Now I have one more chance!

        2 Replies
        1. re: kattyeyes

          I haven't been to the Waterbury Greek festival in several years, but the Greek festival in Orange is even better. Much bigger & many more food options. I hope I get a chance to go this weekend.

          1. re: joan mar

            That is good to know because out of all the Greek fests I've been to, Waterbury has been my favorite. So now I REALLY need to go to Orange! Flash the secret chow sign if you see a tall woman with short, dark hair chowing down on galaktoboureko ('cause that'll be me). ;) Should be a gorgeous weekend for the festival.

        2. My friend just called me from the festival. She said that the entertainment set-up is quite different this year due to the new hall that they built behind the church. She said all the shade trees have been cut down so consider that if you are going to watch the dancers, bring sunscreen and perhaps umbrella. Carnival moved to where some of the parking was. And parking in rear was full, so she had to go next door--seems some of parking may have gotten taken over by new hall/carnival area.

          2 Replies
          1. re: cheereeo

            Are there no tents like Waterbury?

            1. re: kattyeyes

              There are tents, but the dancers are out in the open.

          2. And I can't believe Norwalk is having their festival on the same weekend--saw something about that they extended it through to this weekend. YOu think they wouldn't do it the same weekend. All the churches need to raise funds to survive, and Labor Day w/e has always been St. Barbara's, and I know people travel far to attend this festival.