Friday, June 24, 2011

Round and Round At Carrousel!

It was another impressive weekend in Windsor Ontario, as the Carrousel of the Nations continued. However, instead of being by the riverfront, you had to get on your walking shoes, put some air in your bike tires or gas up the car because there were numerous Villages set-up by different cultures all over the city for patrons of all ages and backgrounds to come and learn about culture, sit back and enjoy entertainment and of course, sample delicious ethnic food!

Looking at the long list of Villages on the website, it was difficult to choose which ones to check out. If I had my way, I would have visited all of them! Fortunately, a route was designed and I was able to go with my boyfriend Bill to several spots including the Polish, Romanian, Hungarian and German ones. 

Upon arrival at the Polish Village on Langlois, it was already packed with people but you could smell the Polish sausages and my mouth was watering just knowing that I would soon be sinking my teeth into succulent perogies! By the time that we got under the shade inside the tent, looking back the line-up was half way down the street!
Lots of Polish merchandise/clothing for sale.

Polish Village - the line up when we got there
There was a lot to choose from and so having combination plates was certainly a great idea to sample a little of everything. I knew that we’d be visiting other places but decided this would be my main meal, so I felt fine to indulge. Service was speedy (well as efficient as you would expect for hundreds of hungry people!) and once staking out two seats, we devoured our food, which included: perogies with a dollop of sour cream, Polish sausages, fresh and delicious cabbage rolls and a side of sauerkraut. I noticed that they had the infamous pazcki’s for dessert (and let it be known that i’ve still yet to try one and hopefully someday will!) but passed since I was very full.

Bill's feast!

My meal!
After dinner, it was time to break away from the crowds, although it would have been great to stay for the Polish dancers, but I was gung-ho to make it to the Romanian Village. I was the most excited about this because I read that they were doing tours. Having Romanian blood, I wanted to pay tribute to my heritage in some fashion. So off we went to the Romanian Village which was located on Tecumseh Road East at the St. George’s Romanian Orthodox Cathedral.


It was another busy gathering outside but this time there wasn’t a huge line up. We could smell all the food, including something called Mititei, which I wasn’t exactly sure what it was at first until asking my dad the next day. It was basically like a spiced hamburger. After asking a kind lady who was dressed in a Romanian costume, if we could have a tour, she said to find “the man with the striped shirt” Thank goodness, because at that moment a man with a striped shirt was coming towards us.

The Romanian Village with part of the flag blowing in the wind
Locating the pastor, Father George, he gave us a personal tour of the Cathedral, including the history, what they do, etc…. WOW! Stepping inside was surreal. I tried to capture the beauty with my camera, but honestly, it needs to be seen in person. The most interesting thing I found out from Father George was when he mentioned that everything is chanted. There are no organs played. They do welcome everyone too, so if you’re not Romanian, that’s okay, you’re still able to enjoy the services that are held on Sunday’s. So there is no doubt in my mind that I will return on a Sunday to soak up some of my culture.                                       
St. George's Romanian Orthodox Cathedral - breath-taking!!

What a sight looking up!

Magnificent view

The front
Next up was the Hungarian Village! Schnitzel was on my mind since it’s been a very long time since we’ve gone to The Blue Danube (the best Hungarian restaurant in the city!) to enjoy a traditional Hungarian meal. Located on Hanna St. East, we arrived and had a short wait to buy food tickets. There was a variety of dishes to choose from, everything from schnitzels and goulash to crepes and pastries. Oh the decisions!!

As we both have a sweet tooth, we opted to try some crepes with jam and two marble style coconut and chocolate mini cakes. Mmm….so tasty and really hit the spot! We stayed to admire the beautiful display of cultural history and of course there was a mannequin there for me to take a photo of all decked out in a traditional Hungarian costume.  Also, we were able to see some young Irish dancers perform. I know what you’re thinking, why are Irish dancers performing at a Hungarian event? We asked ourselves the same question. It turned out that the venue had various ethnic groups perform all day and evening.

Crepes and chocolate/coconut treats

Our last destination was the German Village, located on Edinbrough at the lovely Teutonia Club. Digesting all the food, it was time to get my schnitzel-fix. After having swarms of people in and out all day, there wasn’t alot left to choose from. Bill was not able to have German potato salad and they just ran out of Teutonia schnitzels.

So slightly disappointed, but understanding due to the amount of  people that cleared them all out of food, we decided to try the chicken schnitzel on a bun and a side order of coleslaw. Fantastic! Very tasty and worth purchasing. We stayed for the entertainment portion which ended our night perfectly. They had a band playing on stage and we sat back and watched older couples in love (and a few kiddies dance with their parents) waltz to songs especially one of my favourites; Que Sera Sera!

Chicken schnitzel on a bun with coleslaw
Dancing at the Teutonia Club
Enjoying  the smorgasbord of culture around Windsor Ontario this weekend and seeing how well everything was organized, really puts us on the map as being one of the most ethnically diverse cities and it’s moments like this where I am proud to be a Windsorite!

*All photographs by Melissa Faith Arditti.
If you would like to use any of these photos, please contact me for permission by
sending an email or leaving a comment on my blog.