Here’s an idea for a terrific potluck dinner party at your studio. It’s called “Around the World with Ballroom Dancing”. The way it works is, we ask students to bring a dish that’s related to the origin of our social dances. To illustrate, an easy and obvious one would be Polka which originated in Poland. All you need to do is bring a treat that’s associated with Poland. For example, something like Roasted Potatoes and Kielbasa would be perfect.
Here are some food suggestions for an “Around the World with Ballroom Dance” potluck party.
Welcome to the first stop of our international potluck dinner.
Foxtrot, Quickstep, Peabody – New York
- Pastrami on Rye
- Bagel with a Schmear
- Black and White Cookies
- And, don’t forget the New York-Style Cheesecake.
Swing – Harlem, NY
When it comes to favorites of Harlem, NY, Fried Chicken, Mac and Cheese, and Greens are some pretty good comfort foods. Enjoy with a good, cold beer and you’ll be ready to Swing all night long.
Waltz – Vienna
Wiener Schnitzel, Viennese Sausage (Wiener Wurstel), and Austrian Beef Goulash (Rindsgulasch) are some of the traditional main dishes of Vienna. Top off your entree with a piece of Apple Strudel (Apfelstrudel) and coffee and you’ll have had a fine meal.
Tango – Argentina
People who live in or visit Argentina are crazy about Empanadas (little meat-filled pockets of dough), Provoleta (melted provolone cheese seasoned with herbs and spices – kind of like a fondue), and Choripan (grilled Chorizo on a crusty bun – served like a hot dog).
The national drink of Argentina is Fernet con Coca or Fernet-Branca and Coke. According to liquor.com, “Fernet–Branca is a traditional Italian digestivo made from a secret mix of herbs including myrrh, saffron, chamomile, and gentian.” Enjoy this simple recipe from Serious Eats.
Rumba, Cha Cha, Mambo, Salsa – Cuba
A Cuban classic, Ropa Vieja is a slow-cooked, shredded beef dish. Another favorite, the Cuban sandwich, aka Cubano, consists of Cuban bread, ham, roasted pork, Swiss cheese, pickles, and mustard. Either one would make a delicious addition to our international dinner.
When it comes to sweet treats, Pastelitos are Cuban pastries filled with cream cheese and/or sweetened fruit. Guava is a popular filling. In addition, Cuban flan is a tasty way to finish any meal.
Looking for a cocktail that is popular and loved by all? To be sure, the Cuban Mojito is the one for you. What’s more, it’s easy to make. Simply crush mint leaves, sugar, and lime and top with Bacardi Rum and soda. Try a Mojito punch to serve a crowd.
Samba – Brazil (You’re an international traveler!)
When it comes to meals in Brazil, some dishes are more popular in certain parts of the country. Not so for our next recommendation. Feijoada (fay-ZHWA-dah) or Brazilian Black Bean Stew, is the National Food of Brazil. That means everybody enjoys it.
You’re gonna need something to wash that stew down with. Indeed, Caipirinha, which is Brazil’s National Drink, will do the trick. The Brazilian liquor Cachaca, which comes from fermented sugar cane, is a featured ingredient. Some say it resembles a light and refreshing Mojito.
Since we’re talking about the National this and that of Brazil, let’s add an awesomely yummy treat, Brigadeiro, to our meal. It’s said that since 1940 this chocolate truffle delicacy has been a part of Brazilian dinners and celebrations. In other words, it’s not a party without Brigadeiro.
To help get that “I’m traveling around the world” feeling, be sure to play some Brazilian Bossa Nova while you’re enjoying this food.
Merengue, Bachata – Dominican Republic
To begin with, Lorico de Pollo (chicken and rice), is an especially delicious way to sample the cuisine of the Dominican Republic. It’s juicy and rich flavor is the result of time-honored seasoning of the chicken and sauce.
When it comes to beer, if someone asks for “una fria,” or a cold one, in DR they’re asking for the Dominican beer Presidente. According to the website dr1.com, “Dominicans found that the earlier introductions of European beers were in fact too heavy, with a distinctively strong taste, and with high levels of hops. Contrary to this Dominicans found the American beers too clear and light, with extremely low alcohol content, and simply too refined for the taste buds of the Dominican consumer. Presidente beer was the answer to this problem.“
At the end of a meal, the people of DR enjoy nothing more than a small treat and a sweet coffee. Here’s a simple recipe for a simple and delicious butter cookie that hits the spot.
Polka – Poland
On one hand, you could try the Roasted Potatoes and Kielbasa that was mentioned in the first paragraph of this post. On the other hand, Pierogi, Golabki (Polish Cabbage Rolls), and Potato Pancakes are excellent ways to dip into the cuisine of Poland.
A piece of Polish Babka would make a nice snack or dessert. However, if you prefer not to bake, check out this website for online ordering of many Polish dishes.
Nightclub Two-Step, West Coast Swing – California
Not exactly Around the World, but more like across the country. In any case, California is famous for and extremely proud of their avocados. So, why not serve some Guacamole dip with chips? Or, perhaps you’d like to savor some California Rolls and Fortune cookies.
Believe it or not, since 1986 California has been known as the home of what is considered the best commercial Apple Pie in the USA. C’mon, who doesn’t love Apple Pie?
Wine-searcher.com states, “California is the largest and most important wine region in the USA.” The state is responsible for 90% of the wine production in the States. A sampler of the different regions would be a nice way to showcase the fine wines of the great state of California.
Paso Doble – France (Feel like you’re traveling around the world without leaving town.)
When considering potluck dishes that originate in France, you have many choices. Such as:
- Baked Brie
- French Onion Soup
- Quiche Lorraine
- Croque Monsieur Casserole
And, of course, we cannot continue our tribute to the country that produced the Paso Doble without a glass of Champagne. Although you could substitute sparkling wine, in order to be labeled Champagne, the bubbly must be made in France. You won’t have to go around the world to get it, though. This is where a trip to Costco is a great money-saving idea. Take a look at their Kirkland Signature Champagne.
This is from the bottle:
The Signature Series Kirkland Signature Brut Champagne comes from the top Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier vineyards in Verzenay of Manuel Janisson. This highly acclaimed Brut Champagne has a range of flavors with a rich texture and notes of gingerbread, oranges and peaches plus a bright citrus character that lingers on the finish.
At $19.99 each, it’s a steal. As a matter of fact, this generic bottle is sold as a name-brand in France for $40-50/bottle.
What else do we need to prepare this Around the World potluck party?
I think that’s enough information to get you started. To begin, you’ll need a sign-up sheet. Also, be sure to leave it in an easy-to-see spot. Then, list the dances and countries so your guests can sign up for what they’d like to bring. It’s a piece of cake to Google for some ideas, but feel free to make copies of this post or even put it in a newsletter or email.
A nice touch would be a little card in front of each dish to identify it, as well as the country and the dance it represents.
I hope you enjoy preparing your ‘around the world’ international party as much as I loved writing about it.
Incidentally, I know what you’re thinking.
“This sounds like a great party, Barbara. What else do you have up your sleeve?”. For the answer to that question, check out this Dance Safari post, “Theme Parties by the Decade for Ballroom Dancers“.
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