Cue the music…The 2016 Summer Olympics are almost here! And this year, they’re being hosted by Rio de Janeiro, where things are sure to get hot, hot, hot!
The Olympics are a fantastic celebration of both culture and athleticism. Not only do we get to learn about the host country and the best athletes worldwide, but watching the games instills a certain national pride unseen in other competitions. We simultaneously feel connected to the entire world, while feeling more patriotic than on the Fourth of July!
The Olympics provide the perfect opportunity to host a themed party, whether you have children or not.
(If you’re like me, you may end up carrying the theme through the whole two weeks of games!) The opening ceremony this year is on August 5th, so mark your calendar now. With over 40 sports represented, have all of your party guests don red, white and blue, and participate in games you happen to have readily available at your home (Swimming and trampoline, anyone? Skip the archery and shooting…).
A fun way to celebrate the Olympics is with the food of the host country. Try some of these famous foods of Brazil. You can get experimental in the kitchen or get take-out from a Brazilian restaurant. The upside to take-out is that you’ll taste the dish the way it’s supposed to be made, instead of ending up as a Pinterest fail!
Açaí – Kick things off with an easy one. This purple berry is typically found in juices, smoothies and cocktails.
Cachaça – Made of fermented sugarcane juice, this beverage is Brazil’s national cocktail. Cheers!
Pão de queijo – Crispy on the outside, chewy on the inside, this cheese and bread appetizer will be a crowd favorite!
Acarajé – This one may break your diet, but hey, it’s for a good cause! This deep-fried patty of crushed black-eyed peas, palm oil and pureed onions is deep fried once more in palm oil before being sliced open and stuffed with dried shrimp and vatapá, a spicy puree of prawns, bread, and cashew nuts. Try this Acarajé recipe from Cynthia Presser.
Moqueca – This dish can be made with several variations, but it’s basically a fish/seafood stew with diced tomatoes, onions and coriander. Sometimes, annatto seeds are added, while other times, it’s made with palm oil, peppers and coconut milk. It’s served with rice, farofa (fried manioc flour) and pirão (a spicy, manioc flour fish porridge). Try your own with the recipe from Leite's Culinaria.
Barbecued meats – The best cuts of meat are seasoned with salt and grilled to perfection, before being served on skewers. Easy and delicious!
Feijoada – This stew of black beans, sausage and various cuts of pork takes over 24 hours to cook when done right. It’s usually served with rice, kale and orange slices.
Brigadeiros – These chocolate truffle-like balls are made by simmering condensed milk and cocoa powder, whisking in butter and rolling the mix into balls before coating in chocolate sprinkles. Try the recipe at From Brazil to You.
Quindim – Similar to a cupcake, this simple dessert is made of eggs, butter, sugar and coconut.
…if you weren’t hungry before, you probably are now!
Rio is best known for its incredible beaches, majestic mountains, stunning rain forests, and, of course, football (American soccer). You may also recognize the famous Christ the Redeemer statue, which towers over the city at 2,326 feet above sea level. Incorporate as many of these elements into your life during the two short weeks of Olympic Games.
One of my favorite things about this year’s Olympics (before ever having watched any of it) is the motto: “Live your passion,” or “Viva sua paixão” in Portuguese. Even if you aren’t athletically inclined, it’s a great reminder to us all.