Do you know what a spanakopita is? A rogalik? Answer: You don’t need to. A food dictionary isn’t necessary to enjoy the Old World treats that make up two of the most popular ethnic festivals in Naples, the longtime Greek Fest and the younger, broader Ethnic Food Festival.
They’re both this weekend, so get your waistline ready.
For the record, a spanakopita is a melt-in-your-mouth phyllo triangle baked around stuffings of cheese or chopped spinach. Rogalik are flavorful croissants that might be dusted with poppy seeds for a dinner accompaniment or studded with raisins and nuts as a sweet.
Among the other Eastern European foods to be had at the St. Demetrius festival are pastries such as apricot or nut crescents, apple strudel and cake. There are mixture of three meats — beef, pork and lamb with spices — in the grilled Romanian mici (sausages) that only St. Demetrius offers. It also has other traditional sausages. Some can be had German-style, with a side of sauerkraut. The stuffed cabbage, with its mixture of meats and spices, is a perennial favorite.
“People come because it’s freshly made by the parishioners — nothing purchased,” said Adrian Visan, one of the members of St. Demetrius who works at the festival. “We’re small, but people who know us come every year.”
There will be live music as well. The nationalities represented range from Russia to Romania, Poland, Serbia and Macedonia. The church is at 140 Price St., in East Naples.
St. Katherine’s Greek Orthodox Church is holding its 21st festival, and it’s become a local legend.
Traditional Greek salads with feta cheese will offer the diner room for pastries such as honey-drenched baklava and kataifi, wedding cookies and at least a half-dozen other varieties of authentic, locally made Greek pastries.
Or look for the dinners — moussaka, the bechamel-blanketed, ground lamb favorite; lamb shank with rice and beans; or pasticcio, the lasagna of the Greeks.
Traditional Greek music is geared to give even the newcomer the courage to join a dance.
Both festivals have free parking, and St. Katherine’s offers shuttle service, available across the street from the church at 7100 Airport-Pulling Road N.
A portion of the Greek Fest proceeds will be donated to the “Helping Kids with Cancer Radiothon” which supports children’s cancer services in Southwest Florida.
IF YOU GO
When: 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Friday and Saturday, Feb. 22-23 and noon to 7 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 24
Where: St. Katherine Greek Orthodox Church, 7100 Airport-Pulling Road, Naples
Admission: $4 (kids younger than 12 free, and free admission Friday 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.); free parking and shuttle bus
Information: 239-591-3430; www.StKatherine.net
St. Demetrius Orthodox Ethnic Food Festival
When: 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, Feb. 23-24
Where: St. Demetrius Orthodox Church, 140 Price St., Naples
Admission: No entrance fee; food for sale
Information: 239-775-8998; www.StDemetriusNaples.org