We recently whirled you through all the dancing you’ll be doing when the Capital Ukrainian Festival leaps and spins back onto 952 Green Valley Crescent come July 20th. Of course, all that motion is sure to work up an appetite. You’re in all kinds of luck because Ukrainians LOVE to eat!
How much, you may wonder? Well, let’s just say that the bountiful menu of years past has had to be expanded to satiate the hunger. Now, this isn’t just boxed and unpackaged tradition, either. You can ensure when scarfing down your plate of goodness that those working in the festival kitchen are providing you with something handmade with a lot of love and care for the culture. A meal at the Capital Ukrainian Festival is the closest thing in Ottawa to dining on Khreshchatyk Street in Kyiv. Leave the passport, bring the appetite!

“It’s delicious. It’s traditional. It’s irresistible!” beams Capital Ukrainian Festival President, Jane Kolbe says. “You know the food is high quality because we either make it ourselves with Mama Raisa and Chef Tim Wasylko, or we source food that comes directly from people we know, such as award-winning Toronto-based Halenda’s Meats.”

We totally recommend starting with a plate of varenyky or, as they are most commonly known, a fresh, hot serving of the stuffed goodness that is a perogie. The traditional name of this popular dish derives from the term “boiling liquid”, which is how they are cooked but, let’s be honest here, all you need to know is that they’re amazing and this year there are more of them to try! Usually packed to bursting point with cheddar cheese and potato, hunger festival goers will now have the choice of chicken, Sauerkraut, and cottage cheese/potato offerings. Didn’t get your fill? For dessert try a sour cherry perogie. Don’t forget, you can pick some up to take back with you and have a perogie party at home!
Your next serving should be some borshch, one of the country’s most well-known dishes. You could say that it can’t be “beet”. One velvety red bowl of this is certain to make your taste buds dance the hopak! This will not be culture in a can, either. The festival’s borshch come from the passed down recipes of one of the festival’s cook Mama Raisa. Try it with salo, a Ukrainian delicacy made of cured pork.
Kapusta Salata is a perfect hot day festival chill out. This sauerkraut coleslaw is a healthy snack full of natural enzymes and probiotics. Grab a pickle to top it off.
If you really want to dive into the Ukrainian dining pool, we’ll point you towards the Studenetz. New to the festival, this dish is one of the most unique in all of Ukraine. In short, it’s chilled jellied chicken or pork that certainly merits a taste. We know you’re curious!
What, you think you’re full? We haven’t even hit the mains yet!

You can’t come to a Ukrainian festival without eating a double-smoked, barbecued Kovbasa (pork sausage). Then there’s a skewer of Shashlyk, a chicken shish-kabob moist and marinated and topped with a special sauce. There’s also the pork version, patychky, a seasoned and breaded cut that’s first pan fried and then baked. When done there you can always snack on holubtsi: rice, pork and ground beef all wrapped in a full cabbage leaf, cooked and then smothered in tomato sauce.
Now, we hear your stomach grumbling and you can quell it with even more main dish offerings with more new foods to the fest. Deruny, a scrumptious potato pancake, is a perfect example of Ukrainian comfort food and you can pair one up with some stuffed peppers.
Got room for desert? Good! You may have tried crepes before but not like this. Nalysnky are stuffed (are you sensing a theme here?) with sweetness by way of cherry and apple filling. This year you can also try one with cottage cheese.
Finally, you’ll have many selections to wash all this down with. The kids will love the Compote, a fruit punch made of sour cherries, apples and Saskatoon berries. The adults may want to turn to a cold Lvivske 1715, beer from the oldest still-functioning brewery in Eastern Europe. There’s also the newly branded Zirkova vodka, made by those who know this drink better than any. Ukraine is the birthplace of it! Relax and refresh with a nourishing, organic Lemonbalm and Lavender Iced Tea, a perfect thirst quencher on a hot summer day.
Thank you to Andre Gagne (@EarthToAndre) for the article and photos.
For a complete listing of Capital Ukrainian Festival activities and show times, visit our website. Free admission. Free parking.
Volunteer and get benefits.
We still need more volunteers. Add your name to our volunteer list. Make new friends. Learn a new skill. Socialize. Earn school credits. Whatever your motivation, your help in making this year’s Festival a success is needed and appreciated.
Go to our website and sign up to be a volunteer or email us. If you signed up last year and are interested this summer, please sign up again.
Need some help planning your travel?
Will you be travelling to Ottawa for the Festival? We have helpful tips for travelling on our website. As well, we have reserved rooms with our hotel partner, Best Western Plus – Ottawa City Centre, with arranged special rates available until June 20. Be sure to mention that you’re attending the Capital Ukrainian Festival. See details on the Festival website. Book early. Rooms are limited.
Stay up-to-date on the festival
Remember to keep watching us on social media. The Festival has a Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube account. Take some time and go look through our timeline of old posts. You might have missed some information we have posted.

 

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