“Around the World with Ballroom Dance” Potluck

Here’s an idea for a terrific potluck dinner party at your studio. It’s called “Around the World with Ballroom Dancing”. Simply ask your students to bring a dish that’s related to the country of origin of our social dances. For example, 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, such as something like Roasted Potatoes and Kielbasa.

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.
around the world with ballroom dancing potluck party begins in NY
NY Cheesecake is tall and creamy.

Swing – Harlem, NY

When it comes to the favorite foods 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.

Just have to travel uptown for a mean that celebrates Swing.  International?  No.  Great?  Yes.
Fried chicken – the ultimate finger food.

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, “FernetBranca 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.

Fernet con Coca for our international potluck dinner.
Start your evening with one of these. You won’t be disappointed.

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.

Cuban sandwich for our around the world potluck.

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.

across the country - we love good wine
California Wine Regions

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:

It would be nice to be able to scoop up a handful of candies – just as the French do. They’re particularly fond of licorice and gummies.

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“.

dance safari logo


    • Oh, yes, Carolyn, it is. We actually did this at one of my studios. So much fun researching and executing a delightful evening with interesting food. We may not drink much when we’re out dancing, but we sure like to eat!

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