|Souvlakia with Avocado Tzatziki|
The sacred Olympic Flame was lit in an ancient ritual in Olympia, Greece, site of the first Olympic Games. After a short run through Greece, the Olympic Flame arrived in Athens, where it was handed over to a representative from Canada. From there, the Olympic Flame made a trans-Atlantic flight and arrived in Canada, signaling the start of the longest Olympic Torch Relay to take place in a single country. The 2010 Olympic Torch Relay began in Canada on October 30, 2009 and will conclude at the Opening Ceremony signaling the start of the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Winter Games on February 12, 2010.
Like many Canadians I have followed the Olympic Flame on its path as it has travelled more than 45,000 kilometres across Canada visiting key cities in all 10 provinces and 3 territories. During its journey towards Vancouver, the Olympic Flame will continue to pass by some of the most pristine and stunning landscapes in the world until it reaches its destination in a few short weeks. And at each turn and twist in the path to the Olympic Games, excited Canadians and visitors have gathered to share in the experience. Today the Olympic Flame passed through my city and I was there with the rest with a group of friends with my Red Mittens, Canadian Scarf and waving the Canadian flag. A crowd, estimated at well over 10,000 packed into City Park to welcome the Olympic flame to Kelowna. The crowd was loud and boisterous all evening, but held the largest cheer for local Olympian Scott Frandsen who won a gold medal at the 2008 games in Beijing and lit our city's community cauldron. The Olympic torch shines brilliantly as a beacon of hope, a symbol of the triumphant human spirit. It is here, at the heart of another Canadian community, that our nation celebrates the 2010 Olympic Winter Games with glowing hearts.
The 2010 Olympic Torch designed by Bombardier takes its inspiration from the cool, crisp and modern lines that are left behind in the snow and ice from winter sports. The fluid, dynamic shape of the torch conveys a sense of youthful optimism and the size of the 2010 Olympic Torch shows not only that Canada is a country of bountiful size, but also has enormous potential and heart.
Small touches on the finished 2010 Olympic Torch design make it truly Canadian. A maple leaf on the back of the torch is not only a symbolic element, but has an important functional role as an air intake hole to ensure the Olympic Flame burns brightly. The 2010 Winter Games Motto “With Glowing Hearts/Des plus brillants exploits” is engraved on the torch opposite where the flame will burn.
Some Interesting Facts:
■Over 100 days in length.
■Over 1,000 communities and places of interest where torchbearers will carry the Olympic Flame.
■Nearly 200 celebrations hosted by communities in every province and territory.
■Approximately 90 per cent of Canada’s population will be within a one-hour drive of experiencing the Olympic Flame.
■Over 45,000 kilometres will be travelled.
■Extensive tour of the North including a planned visit to Alert, Nunavut, the northernmost permanently inhabited community in the world.
■12,000 people will have the honour of being an Olympic Torchbearer and will help carry the flame to Vancouver, a majority of who were selected through public programs.
■Each torch bearer runs 300 m.
■12,000 torches were manufactured by Bombardier, a company known worldwide for leading innovations in transportation and aerospace
■Each torch is signed by a Bombardier team member.
■The 300 m must be completed in 3 minutes or less.
■There is 5 minutes of gas stored in the flame.
■The flame is activated by a key which unlocks the gas cylinder.
To celebrate the torch arriving in our city I decided to invite a few friends over for some delicious Greek food with an early dinner before we headed down to the festivities. What better way to celebrate than to get back to the root of the Olympic Games where they all began in ancient Greece and serve up some delicious Greek foods. It was a quick and simple menu and a standard and familiar meal reminiscent of what you find in Greek restaurants in our area. Of course when in Greece the people have way much more to offer in the way of exciting dishes and ingredients but this menu mirrors what my friends would find familiar...with a few twists of my own. To begin our foray into Greek cuisine I was tempted by photos on Facebook from fellow Canadian Peter Minaki for "Kolokithokeftedes” or pumpkin fritters. I twisted one of his original recipes to make use of some grated pumpkin which I served alongside the dolmades for a tasty starter. I was hoping for leftovers but there were none. To my guests I offered homemade Vefa's Pita Bread which I made the previous day with another delicious recipe I found on Peter's site Kalofagas -Greek Foods and Beyond . I served the pita wrapped around Souvlakia. Instead of preparing the traditional tzatkiki I ressurected a recipe for Avocado Tzatziki that I love for an extra boost by renowned Iron Chef Cat Cora. The acidity of the lemon juice and of the Greek yogurt seems to stabilize the avocado and it lasts several days without turning that characteristic off-putting colour. To top off the meal I served all with a side of Aglaia's Greek Lemon and Oregano Potatoes which are always a favourite and a homey Greek Spinach Horiatiki Salad.
See you at the Olympics on February 12th!!!Celebrate the Olympics in your own home with a classic Greek menu. Yammas!!
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