The countdown to deliciousness is officially on.

Hosted by the Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church, the 35th annual International Greek Food Festival will descend on Little Rock May 17-19, and it's bringing with it some new flavors and a brand new event.

Hosted on Wednesday, May 1, the inaugural preview tasting event will allow supporters to get the first taste of this year's new menu items along with wine, beer and other small bites, as well as the first glimpse at the church’s recently installed mosaic from Italy.

"For decades, our parishioners have poured their hearts and souls into this festival to give back to the central Arkansas community," Father Nicholas Verdaris said. "We’re thrilled to share this one-of-a-kind mosaic, as well as some of our church family’s treasured recipes from around the globe at this brand new event."

Get more details on the tasting event here.

Festival organizers also announced six new menu items for guests to enjoy along with a new twist on an old favorite. Here's what to expect: 

  • gyro salad: a healthier take on the famous sandwich with lamb, beef and seasonings on a bed of lettuce with diced tomatoes, onions and tzatziki sauce
  • "Improved" Greek salad: lettuce topped with generous portions of tomatoes, cucumbers, feta, purple onion, olives and pita bread
  • lamb dinner: traditional lamb recipe with roasted potatoes, Greek-style green beans, Greek salad and pita bread
  • Olympic sundae: Yarnell’s vanilla ice cream topped with loukoumathes (Greek doughnut holes) and honey syrup
  • OPAtizer plate: sampling of keftedes (Greek meatballs), dolmades, Kalamata olives, feta cheese, sliced tomato, cucumber and pita bread
  • ouzo cake: famous Greek sponge cake with ouzo, a dry anise-flavored aperitif
  • "vegeterranean" plate: platter of seasoned rice, Greek-style green beans, Greek salad and pita bread

The 2019 fest will benefit seven local nonprofits: Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Arkansas, Community Connections, Easterseals of Arkansas, Humane Society of Pulaski County, Ronald McDonald House Charities of Arkansas, Wolfe Street Foundation and Youth Home.

Admission is $3 or a donation of three canned food items for the Arkansas Foodbank. You can also get your eats by drive-thru.

For more information, visit the International Greek Food Festival website and follow along on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

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