Folklorama – Mediterranean Style


It’s been a couple of years since I’ve taken in any Folklorama pavilions. This year I am operating on a media pass. I plan to take in several pavilions, particularly at the start of each week and write them up. I will be bringing food highlights, but I also will write about the cultural displays and shows. As most of my readers know, I don’t drive. So I’ll be making my choices based on what works best for the bus/foot combination.

Mediterranean Pasta Making

Traditional pasta making on display at the Italian Pavilion.

Last night I decided to go with a Mediterranean themed night. I started off at the Greek Pavilion. Then I went over and paid a visit to the Italian Pavilion.

For those of you unfamiliar with it, Folklorama is Winnipeg’s annual celebration of our cultural diversity. You can read more about Folklorama on their about page.

Folklorama Greek Pavilion

The Greek Pavilion is located in St. Demetrios Greek Orothodox Church at Grant and Shaftesbury. When I arrived I was greeted by one of the youth ambassadors who took me on a brief tour of the cultural display. The theme for this year is the Olympics. This years games are starting in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil in a few days. Their roots however are in ancient Greece. The pavilion even has a photo booth where you can get your picture taken on a medal podium.

Mediterranean Photo booth

In keeping with this being an Olympic year, there is an Olympic Medal Podium photo booth at the Greek Pavilion.

There was also a section of the cultural display that focused on Greek food and the Mediterranean Diet. This featured a wide variety of foods that are staples of the Greek diet. There were also pictures of Hippocrates the father of modern medicine with quotes about diet and health.

Greek Food

After the little tour, I headed downstairs for some food and the show. Greek food is one of my favourites, so I was looking forward to this. It lived up to all my expectations. I ordered a Chicken Souvlaki, and lemon potatoes. I also went with a slice of Baklava and Almond Cookie for dessert. For beverage I went with sweetened Greek Coffee.

Mediterranean foods

A plate with chicken souvlaki and lemon potato. Two of my favourite Greek items.

Mediterranean almond cookie

A delicious little almond cookie.

Mediterranean baklava

A well-filled and flaky piece of Baklava from the Greek Pavilion

The food was all very good. Lemon Potatoes are one of my favourite Greek dishes and these were cooked very well with a sweet and citrus flavour. The Baklava is nice and flaky and packed with plenty of nuts in the filling. I really enjoyed the fact that the cinnamon wasn’t overwhelming.  The Greek coffee was a new experience for me. It’s quite strong but goes down quite smoothly.

As my plans for the day involved allowing time for travel, I didn’t see all of the show. There were several dance groups on stage. There was a really emphasis on young dancers in the show. As I left there was a singer/musician about to take the stage.

As I mentioned earlier, this pavilion is located in St. Demetrios Orthodox Church. As I was leaving I ran into the priest and asked if I might take a few minutes to look inside. He graciously allowed me too and I can only say that this is an absolutely beautiful church. The few pictures I took don’t come close to doing the beauty justice.

Mediterranean church

The view looking to the front of the church.

The church altar

Mediterranean mosaic

A mosaic on one of the church walls.

Make sure you take some time before the end of this week to visit the Greek Pavilion.

Folklorama Italian Pavilion

From the Greek Pavilion I headed on over to the Italian Pavilion. Having eaten a great deal at the Greek Pavilion I ate a smaller portion here. However, I also already knew that the Italian Pavilion serves great food. Located in the Centro Caboto I’ve recently tried their chef’s offerings. The food at this location is superb. Much like the Greek Pavilion the Italian Pavilion is worth visiting for the food alone.

While I didn’t eat a lot, I did enjoy a slice of Pepperoni Pizza along with a salad dressed in Balsamic Vinegar.

Mediterranean mixed greens

A lovely, lightly dressed, mixed green salad at the Italian Pavilion.

A slice of pepperoni pizza.

Of course food is one of the things we think of first with Italian culture. Among the many displays in the cultural hall, were displays of the various types of foods traditional to Italy. Along with displaying different types of pasta, I also got to watch it being made in the traditional way.

Along with all the food displays, there was also a shelf containing pictures describing the Italian performance tradition in Winnipeg. This tradition dates back a long way. Given such a long tradition it was not in the least bit surprising that they put on such a great show at the pavilion:

Mediterranean arts

An history of Italian performing arts in Winnipeg.

Italian Pavilion Show:

Like a lot of Folklorama pavilions the Italian one featured a lot of young dancers. However, the also featured a lot of young singers as well. The main singers in their stage show ranged form 16 to 21 years of age. All of them sang like they were already veterans even at such a young age.

The theme of the show was a tour of Italy, with stops in several of the major cities. The show featured dance numbers interspersed with songs. The dance troupes were La Ragazza Italiane and Splendore D’Italia Entertainment Group. Both groups gave lively and energetic performances.

As someone who studied for a few years, I always enjoy good singing performances. In this case Francesca Silla, Gabriella Gesualdo, Christina De Luca, Davide and Giovanni Verrelli, all did fantastic jobs. There voices were strong and they brought a lot of vitality to their singing. The Italian Pavilion show was one of the best that I’ve ever seen at Folklorama. This is one group of talented young people that you don’t want to miss.

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