60 - russian food festival lorain Saints Peter and Paul  father basil bread

44.) Russian Food Festival – Lorain – August 19, 2011

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After less than a month of going to my first ever Russian festival and enjoying it, I was excited to hear that another one was about to take place in nearby Lorain.

Lorain is no stranger to the ethnic festival, thanks to the large amount of immigration that the steel industry has brought in. In this city alone, I have been to Hungarian, Greek, and Hispanic festivals and the city even holds an International Festival with many more cultures represented through music and food.

But I didn’t remember seeing a Russian booth at the International, so I was curious to what Lorain’s version would be like.

That curiosity took me to South Lorain’s Saints Peter and Paul Orthodox Church

…for the Russian Food Festival.

After I parked across the street, I walked onto the festival grounds…
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…fought the urge to pretend I was a Russian nestling doll

…and decided to take advantage of the open church before getting something to eat.

Although not a religious person, I love religious art – paintings, mosaics and sculpture. And I was not disappointed at Saints Peter and Paul…

…for the church holds some wonderful artwork, stained glass…

…and ornate icons.

As I walked through the church, I was greeted by Father Basil Stoyka, who gave me a quick tour of the church and told me a bit about the church’s history. Interestingly enough, I was already familiar with Father Basil’s name since the festival advertisements in the newspaper proudly announced that his “famous Russian sweet bread” would be for sale at the festival. I was so intrigued by this that I was already planning on buying a loaf.

But we’ll discuss the bread a little later…

The festival was made up of two main areas: the outdoor yard area and the church basement.

The outdoor area consisted of…

…a booth for beverages…

…a booth for some ala carte items (kielbasa, Russian slaw, etc.)…

…and a large tented dining area to enjoy them.

This area was also where a Russian band performed during the majority of the festival, but I arrived too early on account of wanting to be sure I got a loaf of Father Basil’s bread.

(More on the bread later, I promise.)

The church basement…
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…was a little more cramped for dining…

…but this is where you could take part in the raffle…

…purchase some Russian gifts…

…and enjoy quite a bit more Russian delicacies.

With a focus more on plates/dinners rather than ala carte items, food here included…
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…freshly fried fish, kielbasa with kraut…

…stuffed cabbage…


…and a bounty of homemade desserts to finish it off!

I decided to keep it simple…
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…with a kielbasa sandwich, sweet kraut and some great homemade pierogies.

Satisfied with a full belly, there was only one thing left to do…
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… get a loaf of the Russian sweet bread.

The loaf was heavy and dense and you could smell the sweetness of the bread while it was still in the bag. Church volunteers told me how good it was, especially while toasted or when used for French toast.

Later that evening…

…I divided the loaf.

I gave the larger half to my mother and shared the smaller half the next morning with my fiance and her sister. We toasted it with butter and jelly and enjoyed it immensely.

I had two thick slices.

Meanwhile, at my mother’s house, my brother and his kids were visiting and they were toasting the bread and enjoying it as well. They loved it so much, in fact, that my nephew even pulled a Jean Valjean on my mom when he slipped out of her house and into the car…

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…with the remaining bread in hand.
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