Among the first to eat the tender delight was popular Vancouver food blogger Trevor James, whose Food Ranger YouTube channel is closing in on two million subscribers, and whose videos get millions of views.
“The lamb is excellent, it’s the best choice,” he smiled.
James wasn’t filming, mind you, Friday was about lunch with mom and dad, who live in Brentwood Bay.
Greek Fest starts at 11 a.m. each day – Saturday and Sunday, and again over Labour Day weekend, Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday – until 10 p.m. each night. There is music, dancing, the popular lamb and food items, as well as fresh beer on tap from Hoyne Brewery.
Some people come for the lamb, some for the dancing, and go straight for the fresh-out-of-the-fryer loukoumades (honey puff) Greek style mini doughnuts.
“Very popular,” said organizer Jim Koutougos. “The lamb is a big hit, but the loukoumades are well-liked.”
Sitting a few tables from James was David Bray and his wife, who enjoyed a Hoyne with the souvlaki plate.
“We come every year, have been for several years now, to get lunch,” Bray said.
At the next table, sitting around a pile of well-picked lamb bones on empty plates, was Tom Malenica and a band of software programmers on lunch from the Vancouver Island Tech Park.
“We actually thought this was Geek Fest,” Malenica joked. “It was very good.”
Nikos Kamaretsos has been volunteering with Greek Fest for 20 years. He loads the lamb into the slow cooker at 6 a.m.
“We’ll roast about eight [batches] today, each day,” Kamaretsos said.
The lamb meat for Greek Fest is specially butchered into big chunks over an inch thick, not what you’d find in the grocery store.
Roast lamb is a common method to cooking the popular meat but in Canada we only get a snippet of what other cultures do. For example, traditionally, people used the whole animal, which might come as a shock to others.
“I was in Athens last month, I saw a lamb cook where there was multiple lamb heads on the spit, slow cooking them,” said James, who’ll be eating lamb again this week when he lands in Marrakesh.
Visit Greekfest.ca for more information.