In the Balkans…even the most casual visitor is greeted with a sweet and a drink on arrival. It’s a centuries-old tradition.
At Golden Festival…we have our own 33-year-old traditions. One is to communally prepare and serve a sampling of the cuisines of the Mediterranean and Balkans. It’s everything from an imported Balkan bonbon at the entrance, to a spread of veggie, dairy and meat specialties in the Skylight Room, to the lucky Vassilopita — Greek New Year’s bread with a hidden coin. (Will you find it this year?)
Our food is provided by local caterers (representing over a dozen ethnic communities in NJ and NYC), imported from Europe and the Near East, or prepped and cooked by Golden Fest Kitchen Staff.
We cherish the diversity, as well as the common elements, of all these cuisines, and focus on seasonal specialties. These include cooked and pickled vegetable salads, brined cheese, bean stews, and smoked meats. These foods show how the summer bounty is preserved for the winter table in the Balkans.
Please join us in the Skylight Room (adjacent to the Grand Ballroom):
— Friday between 8:30 – midnight
— Saturday 8:30 – 1:30
to experience a festive buffet of meze — light savory snacks to accompany drinks and share with friends.
Sweets will also appear around 10 pm each evening for your enjoyment.
- Please use tongs and spoons for serving yourself. It’s cold and flu season! Thanks!
- Please be considerate with your portions so everyone is able to sample every dish.
- We regret that traditional cuisines contain many allergens. If you have any questions about ingredients, ask a host or server to contact the Golden Fest Staff kitchen manager on duty.
- If you are interested in ingredients, vendors or sources of the foods we serve, please contact the Golden Fest Kitchen Manager (ask any of the servers to direct you).
The Skylight Room is divided into several stations for convenience. Each station serves the same food, though different specialties may appear throughout the evening, with two lines changing to sweets after 10 pm.
Feel free to check back several times in the evening to sample new offerings – the food tasting is included in your ticket.
After selecting your food and beverages, please take a seat in the Grand Ballroom or Atrium room and enjoy the music and snacks. Yes, there may be long lines, but we’re sure you will find it’s worth the wait!
If you or your kids require an earlier snack, or a sit-down hot meal, support our Park Slope neighbors by patronizing local restaurants: Turkish, Austrian, Czech, and Latino eateries — and more — along 5th 7th Avenues, within walking distance of the Hall.
Athena Mediterranean Cuisine, on 535 6th Ave., 3 blocks from Grand Prospect Hall, features a 3-course Golden Fest pre-fixe dinner (Please RSVP: 718-965-4578) for $25.95, Friday and Saturday. They also offer lighter fare and a la carte meals, Mediterranean wines and spirits, and the all-important GREEK COFFEE!
If you leave the Hall for a meal or coffee, your wristband will allow you to return to the festival afterwards.
Beverages (local craft beers, Balkan and Greek wines, šljivovica (plum brandy), raki and ouzo, juices and soft drinks (Balkan and domestic) are sold by Grand Prospect Hall on a cash-bar basis.
– Friday in the Skylight Room (2nd floor)
– Saturday in the Skylight Room (2nd floor) and the Speakeasy (1st Floor):
Organic coffee, ethnic teas, and soft drinks are available for purchase at the Coffee/Tea Bar in the Skylight Room on both nights.
Purchase beverage tickets from Grand Prospect Hall staff in the Skylight Room, and pay for your drink selections with them. Sorry, this is cash only, so do come prepared.
Free water is available on every floor for thirsty dancers! Please label and reuse your cups; trays are provided to store them while you boogie.
Our insurance prohibits bringing outside alcoholic beverages to Grand Prospect Hall. Thank you for your cooperation.
Saturday 10:30 pm — Vassilopita Cutting
In honor of the New Year, we present our annual “St. Vassili’s Cake” – a Greek “king cake” with a hidden coin. Please join us in the Skylight Room on Saturday night at 10:30. If you select the piece with the token, Lea in the Charshiya will magically transform it into a GIFT CERTIFICATE for dinner at Athena Mediterranean Cuisine, Brooklyn!
We thank our food donors and vendors for their interest in the festival, and share their belief in food and music as a way to bring the world closer together.
Elizabeth “MB” Ryan and Breezy Hill Orchard for their annual gift of organic apples. The farm also hosts events in the Hudson Valley presenting Zlatne Uste and other Balkan artists. www.hudsonvalleycider.com
“Mamma Mila” Mitrović’s meze and pastries reflect her Bulgarian and Serbian heritage. firstname.lastname@example.org
Chef Spiro and Teddy at Athena Mediterranean Cuisine — for their annual gifts of revitho- salata (hummus), and the Vassilopita prize.
Ethan Frisch and Burlap and Barrel for their gift of ethically-sourced spices and herbs to grace our dishes. www.burlapandbarrel.com. Please visit their table in the Charshiya to learn more.
Cvetko Petreski at Eternatea Coffee and Grocery, 131 Crooks Ave., Paterson, NJ. A pan-Balkan grocery featuring their Brian’s brand Macedonian imports: home-style ajvar, pickles, and beef sudjuk.
“The Greek Store,” at 612 Boulevard, Kenilworth, NJ, features the Diamandas family’s specialties, such as the almond skordhalia and taramosalata we are serving. www.eatgreek.com
Brothers Produce, 325 Railway Ave., Paterson Farmer’s Market: bulk Egyptian, Bulgarian and Greek cheeses, dried fruit and nuts, Arabic groceries, fresh produce in Paterson’s historic souk.
Nouri Brothers, 999 S. Main St., South Paterson, NJ sends their hummus, baba ghanouj, Syrian pita, string cheese, sweets, groceries and good wishes. www.elnouri.com
Cedar’s Mediterranean Foods, has provided fresh vegetarian dolmadhakia to the Festival for over a dozen years. www.cedarsfoods.com
Kontos Foods – Mediterranean-style flatbreads, made locally in Paterson, NJ www.kontos.com
Balić Winery — Bojan Bosković, vintner, continues his family’s Serbian winemaking tradition in South Jersey. His hearty red Alexander the Great, from the indigenous Balkan Vranac grape, is available at the bar www.balicwinery.com
Tony (and staff) at Stop & Shop of South Orange, NJ, for preparing heaps of fresh cut vegetables.
Quality Halal Meat Market, 829 S. Main Street, Paterson, NJ — Our favorite zesty Albanian and Turkish sucuk.
Taşkın Bakery — Fluffy, chewy, and soulful white and whole wheat pide breads, which we collect warm from their ovens in Paterson, NJ. www.taskinbakery.com
Natasha Makowski from Flowering Rock, Boston MA, for Mountain Tea (tsaï vounou /planinski čaj) tisanes, sourced and blended from herbs in Central Greece. Available at the coffee bar. www.floweringrock.com