The 61st Greek Bake Sale kicks off bright and early Friday morning at Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church, but plan to arrive a few minutes before the 8 a.m. start if you want to take home some goodies. The most-popular items, such as baklava and spanikopita, always sell out early. Last year, though, the new Koks (pronounced "cokes") — chocolate-filled sponge cakes — were gone by 9 a.m., and another six items were sold out by noon.

And though the sale lasts till 4 p.m., last year, the majority of the items were sold out by 2:30 in the afternoon, says Thea Ballas, bake sale chairman.

Why do they go so quickly? Ballas says Chattanooga has had a surge of residents move here from the North where Greek food is very common. "They are familiar with Greek pastries," she says. In addition, Southerners have become more educated in the foodways of different cultures.

The bake sale is where you can satisfy that craving for pastries with crusts as thin as paper and laden with nuts, butter and all those delicious ingredients in which we indulge during the holiday season.

"Having Greek pastries is something different for our customers to serve with their meals," Ballas says. "And, yes, you can get baklava at many places in the area. But all the other pastries we sell are just not available anywhere else."

The Greek Bake Sale has added new items to its menu for the past several years. This year, get ready: Baklava Cheesecake. Also new to the sale are vanilla-filled sponge cakes covered with chocolate ganache; and loukimi, a Turkish delight. After a three-year absence, the always-popular Greek sweet bread is back by popular demand.

Spinach and cheese pitas are wonderful to serve for the holidays and will be available for purchase in appetizer sizes, uncooked, in both spinach and cheese flavors. There will also be a larger size sold, uncooked, that, once baked, is great for a light lunch along with a salad.

"Since we sell them uncooked, they last for months in the freezer," Ballas says. "Easy to take out as many as you like to bake." Or you can buy the larger size cooked and ready to eat.

"These have become our No. 1 seller," Ballas adds.

If you come during your lunch hour, plan on enjoying lunch at the sale. Hot spanakopita pockets and tiropita pockets will be sold, along with Greek-style doughnuts (loukoumades) served with syrup for dessert.

Other items to take home are:

* Finikia: A spice cookie, with syrup and rolled in walnuts.

* Amygdalota: Crescent cookies made with ground almonds, sugar and flavorings.

* Kourambiethes: Greek wedding cookies made with butter and toasted almonds and covered with powdered sugar.

* Koulourakia: Twisted butter cookies; not too sweet and great with coffee.

* Kataifee: Shredded phyllo bars with nuts and syrup.

* Almond paximathia: Twice baked cookies (biscotti) with toasted almonds.

* Anisette paximathia: Twice baked cookies (biscotti) with anisette flavoring.

* Spanakopita (appetizer size): Frozen, uncooked, phyllo with spinach, feta and egg mixture.

* Spanakopita (pockets): Frozen, uncooked, phyllo with spinach, feta and egg mixture.

* Almond coffee cake: Almonds, butter and eggs.

* Galatoboureko (8- by 8-inch pans): Frozen, uncooked phyllo pie with custard, butter and syrup.

* Chocolate kok: A chocolate sponge cake filled with a vanilla pastry cream and covered with chocolate ganache.

All money raised from the bake sale goes to charities in the Chattanooga area. Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church is located at 722 Glenwood Drive across from Memorial Hospital.



The Scenic City Supper Club will host its fall dinner, The Harvest Supper, at Miller Plaza on Sunday, Nov. 17. It features an exciting lineup of chefs. Collaborating on this memorable, four-course meal for 150 people will be John Fleer, five-time James Beard semifinalist and executive chef of Rhubarb, Benne on Eagle and The Rhu in Asheville, North Carolina; Erik Niel, executive chef at Easy Bistro & Bar; Erik Zilen, owner and baker of Niedlov's Bakery; Kaley Laird, executive chef and owner of Rhubarb, Benne on Eagle and The Rhu; and Mariano Cebrian, chef of Asado Panoram Imports. Dinner will also feature paired wines selected by wine professional Frederick Corriher.

Tickets, which include all drinks, food and gratuity, are $170 per person. For reservations and more information, log onto

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