Cypriot Community of Queensland president Stathi Zambas, who has been cutting calamari rings since he was about five years old, has continued tradition as he helps slice half a tonne of calamari for this year’s Paniyiri festival.

He brought 12 boxes of lemons for the marinade sauce into the Cypriot Community of Queensland’s kitchen at West End before joining the other seven volunteers to slice calamari on Thursday

The week leading up to the annual greek festival would also see more than 5000 sheftalies and half a tonne of halloumi to be slung by grandmothers in their 80s on Friday at Cyprus House on Vulture Street.

Mr Zambas promised the calamari made with a secret sauce, passed down by a Cypriot grandmother long ago, would not disappoint.

Sometimes people make calamari a bit tough that’s like chewing gum but ours will melt in your mouth,” he said.

Mr Zambas said with speed, skill and practise after slicing calamari for years, the volunteers would slice up about 18,000 rings.

“We increased the amount of calamari this year by a little bit but I know we will sell out – we always do,” he said.

“It’s nice, fresh, crispy and very tasteful with the sauce we make by hand and the way we cook it.

“I’ve tried other people’s calamari and it’s not the same as ours.”

Mr Zambas said he was proud the Cypriot Youth of Brisbane was very strong in continuing tradition through food and culture.

“Without the youth we cannot have Paniyiri,” he said.

“We have three generations and some families actually four generations working at the stalls together.”

“It is very important for us because it promotes our Greek-Cypriot culture and out food, with our dancers with kids from five years old.”

About 150 volunteers would be at the two stalls at the annual Greek festival on Saturday and Sunday.

Fore more information, visit the Paniyiri website.

Brisbane Times

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