Ukrainian-Canadians cook up some family fun

Borscht Fest coming to Saanich's Ukrainian Cultural Centre on Nov. 7

A group of local Ukrainian-Canadians have set out to prove that no two batches of borscht are alike.

To put that theory to the test, the second annual Borscht Fest Victoria will be coming to Saanich on Nov. 7. The event runs from noon to 2:30 p.m. at the Ukrainian Cultural Centre, 3277 Douglas St.

The Borscht Fest resembles a chill cook-off, except using the Ukrainian soup that is traditionally made with beets.

The second annual Borscht Fest provides an opportunity for Victoria cooks to show off their culinary skills and compete for the title of “Best Borscht in Town.”

“Last year’s Borscht Fest was so much fun – who knew so many people liked borscht? – we decided to do it again this year,” said Maria Koropecky, Borscht Fest planning committee chair.

“And now St. Nicholas Church has teamed up with the Ukrainian Cultural Centre to make our Borscht Fest event even better.”

To enter the competition, you first need to register and then make three gallons of borscht from scratch and bring it in a crock pot to the Ukrainian Cultural Centre on the day of the festival where you can hand out samples.

“Borscht is not just for Ukrainians,” said Koropecky. “You can find all kinds of unique versions of borscht in many other countries and we’d like to encourage and invite all borscht lovers to participate in the Borscht Fest.”

To register and book a table, call Maria at 250-812-3487 by Oct. 25. The registration fee is $15.

For borscht lovers whose cooking skills aren’t quite up to snuff, you can still head down to Borscht Fest and vote for your favourite. Admission is $10.

Borscht Fest is a fundraiser for medical and humanitarian aid for the people of Ukraine. Last year’s Borscht Fest raised $1,948 for a charity called Caritas Canada.

“As a daughter of Ukrainian immigrants, borscht is very near and dear to my heart,” said Koropecky. “And given what is going on in Ukraine these days, I thought a Borscht Fest would be a great way to show support and give back.”

For more information, visit the group’s Facebook page at Facebook.com/BorschtFestVictoria.