This year, the Greek Orthodox Easter festivities fall on Sunday May 1, several weeks after many other communities celebrate their Easter traditions - and the public holiday long weekend across Australia.
The main reason often cited for the celebration of Easter festivities on different dates is related to the different calendars used to calculate the date on which Easter will fall each year. The Christian Orthodox Church continues to follow the older Julian calendar when calculating the date of Easter, while the rest of the Christian Church uses the Gregorian calendar.
Even though the two celebrations may fall on different dates, what they do have in common is that they are the perfect opportunity to bring friends and families together around the dinner table, something that is important to all faiths and cultures.
Above: Head chef of popular Melbourne restaurant Hellenic Republic (Kew) Alex Xinis
To help set the mood for Greek Easter, we have teamed up with popular Melbourne restaurant Hellenic Republic for a Greek Easter Flavours masterclass. At the event, Hellenic Republic Kew's head chef Alex Xinis will prepare a few delicious Greek Easter dishes in the Metricon Smeg kitchen - where he will add a modern twist on traditional Greek recipes. Watch the video to learn more.
Above: Greek, George Calombaris
We took an opportunity to ask Alex about his career at Hellenic Republic, as well as the perennial popularity of Greek food, and the importance of Greek Easter to Greek families.
In terms of what he loves most about cooking, Alex says, "I love working with different flavours and creating new things. It's great when you've worked hard on developing a new dish, and getting to watch people enjoy what you've created. Also, I love that food and eating bring people together, and I'm pretty lucky I get to do that every day at Hellenic Republic, Kew".
Alex also recommends some popular Greek recipes that people can try this Greek Easter, "the traditional horiatiki salad, or otherwise referred to as a Greek salad. Hellenic Republic Brunswick offers this on their menu, with fresh tomatoes, cucumbers, olives and Dodoni feta. It's delicious. Another favourite of mine are slow cooked meats, especially slow roasted lamb shoulder - either cooked in the oven or over the spit."
When it comes to Greek Easter, Alex says, "I think Greek Easter is a really special time in Australia, but also especially for Greek families", adding, "It's all about family and celebrating food. I remember my time in Greece, when we would gather around a dinner table underneath grape vines and enjoy the iconic Greek Easter dish, Kokoretsi." Other popular dishes to enjoy at a Greek Easter include lamb from the spit and Avgolemono (egg and lemon soup).
As to be expected of a professional chef, Alex considers it important that you have a well-designed kitchen in your home, "I consider the kitchen to be the heart of the home, it's the one place where you'll find your family and friends will always congregate. In the kitchen at home, I only need a good heavy based frypan or pot, a blender and a good gas stove top."
We hope that you and your family enjoy your Easter celebrations this year and that you have been inspired to try out some delicious Greek Easter recipes. Find out more about Hellenic Republic Kew on their website, and make sure to follow our social media channels, or to keep an eye on our Events page to see what other great events we have planned this year.