Cup full of flavors: Try some global game-time eats

Ask a hardcore soccer fan if eating is an important part of game watching and you're likely to get an interesting answer: Who has time to eat? During the once-every-four-years World Cup, which started Friday in South Africa, food is just plain se...


Ask a hardcore soccer fan if eating is an important part of game watching and you're likely to get an interesting answer: Who has time to eat?

During the once-every-four-years World Cup, which started Friday in South Africa, food is just plain secondary to soccer.

"You watch every frame of the TV, and everybody's on their toes, even if they're sitting down," says Lillo Teodosi, chef and co-owner of Caruso Ristorante in Boca Raton, Fla., who left his native Italy more than 30 years ago.

Of course, there's always before and after the game. Fans gather at home or eateries and, depending on their nationality, there are bound to be certain foods and beverages present.

"When the game is playing, you go to bars where everyone is gathered, the more the merrier," Teodosi says. "The drink of preference (in Italy) is espresso. Sometimes two or three per person."


The beer of choice typically is Nastro Azzurro, he says, made by Peroni Brewery.

"I'm from Rome, where there are two clubs: Roma and Lazio. It's like the Cubs and White Sox in Chicago," says Teodosi, who lived in the Windy City. "There are rivalries and espresso bars are quite a destination in Italy."

While his restaurant doesn't have a big bar, he had satellite TV installed in time for the monthlong tournament, just to help build camaraderie among fellow Italy fans.


What will fans of World Cup host South Africa be sampling.

"We would be having a braai," says Siegi Lindsay, who left South Africa shortly after graduating from culinary school in 1985 and owns a Fort Lauderdale home accessories store called Acacia. "A braai is a barbecue and South Africans love to barbecue."

They're not big on gas grills, either, she says. Instead, they use firewood sold on the side of the road.

"They sell firewood made from old wine vines. It's a very good wood for a fire," she says.


South Africans might grill boerewors, sausages made from pork, beef or lamb. Lindsay remembers chutney on grilled boerewors eaten on rolls.

Rod Wiggill, owner of Meal in a Pie, a South African specialty store in Fort Lauderdale, says some people eat them on hot dog rolls with ketchup, mustard and onion. He makes the sausages in his shop using a special blend of spices from South Africa. The key ingredient is coriander.

Lindsay says any authentic South African soccer party wouldn't be complete without another specialty item known as biltong, a cured meat similar to beef jerky. Perhaps because of her culinary training, Lindsay would also serve grilled lamb.


"In Barcelona, people go to the bars and drink beer and watch the game together," says Marc Vidal, chef at the modern Spanish restaurant, Solea, at the W South Beach. "We drink more than we eat," says Vidal, 32, who moved to Miami four years ago.

Luckily, he says, there are lots of bars in Barcelona. If food is served, it's simple fare such as canned mussels or hot-pressed pork sandwiches with tomatoes on the side. Vidal will be in Spain during the World Cup and can't wait to experience the camaraderie of soccer, Spanish-style. "For the first time, Spain has a chance to do something important," he says. "We have a great team and if we don't win something this year, I don't think we ever will."


Claudio Kojusner says soccer in Argentina is difficult to explain to someone who hasn't witnessed it. It's everywhere.


"You can play it in the streets, you can play it at the corner, or you can play on a team," says Kojusner, owner of La Estancia Argentina, a specialty food store with locations in Miramar, Aventura and Coral Gables.

When he left Argentina for New York in 1986, he begrudgingly stopped trying to keep up with games. But all these years later, TV has brought soccer to fans everywhere.

For this World Cup, Kojusner installed televisions in his Aventura and Coral Gables stores.

"Here, Super Bowl is the best day of the year for pizza," he says. "In Argentina, soccer is a very big day for pizza or empanadas."

While Argentines love to grill all kinds of meat, the choripan, a simple pork or beef sausage, is a main attraction at soccer gatherings. Kojusner says there's nothing unique about the content of these sausages, but when he went into business in 2004, he hired a retired Argentine butcher to teach his team the tricks. The sausages are preservative-free, seasoned simply with salt, pepper and garlic and made in his Aventura facility.

Many people cut them in half length-wise to form what is called a mariposa -- butterfly in English -- and serve it on a baguette. Chimichurri sauce is optional. Argentina's beer of choice is a cold Quilmes.


Frank Reider is such a big soccer fan that he named his Delray Beach steakhouse, Gol! The Taste of Brazil.


Born in New York, Reider says he first went to Brazil as a member of the Peace Corps. After law school, he was hired by Chase Manhattan Bank and sent to Rio de Janeiro, where he lived for more than three decades.

"I love soccer, but I had to learn it," he says. "I played soccer in high school but it ... wasn't anything like playing in Brazil or in Europe. The plan of attack is similar to basketball, but you do it with 11 people instead of five and you do it with your feet."

He misses the fever that inevitably came with soccer in Brazil.

"It's hard to describe the passion that's in it for Brazilians, Argentines and Italians," he says. "During a World Cup game in Rio, the streets are empty. No one's on the beach. It could be the most beautiful day."

Reider hopes to bring a bit of that passion to Delray. His restaurant will show every game and serve up Brazilian appetizers such as calamari salad, sliced sirloin steak and chicken wrapped in bacon.

Perhaps more importantly, every time Brazil or the United States scores a goal, everyone in the bar will get a free drink.

Gol! Indeed!




Frank Reider, owner of Gol! The Taste of Brazil in Delray Beach, offers his recipe for a caipirinha, the national cocktail of Brazil.

2 ounces Sagatiba brand Cachaca (See note)

½ ounce freshly squeezed lime juice

Lime rind, cut into small pieces

½ to 1 teaspoon sugar (or sugar substitute), depending on taste

In a cocktail shaker, muddle (crush) the ingredients together and then shake well.

Strain the liquid into a glass of ice. The more authentic Brazilian way is to pour the mixture into a rocks glass of ice and serve unstrained with the lime rinds.


Makes 1 cocktail.


Cachaca is made from fermented sugarcane.)



Claudio Kojusner, owner of La Estancia Argentina in Miramar, Aventura and Coral Gables, Fla., shared recipes for classic Argentine sauces that are served as condiments with grilled meats. His chimichurri, made with garlic, oil and parsley, and Salsa Criolla, made with tomatoes and peppers, are perfect on the grilled choripan or sausage sold in his stores. Use this on any grilled meat.

1 teaspoon salt

1 cup white vinegar

1 cup olive oil

1 medium onion, minced

½ red bell pepper, chopped

½ green bell pepper, chopped

2 green onions, diced

2 tomatoes, cubed

Black pepper, to taste

Cayenne pepper, to taste

In a medium bowl, stir salt into white vinegar until dissolved. Stir in oil and vegetables. Season with pepper. Refrigerate at least 2 hours before serving.

Makes about 4 cups.

Per 1 tablespoon serving: 45 calories, 94 percent calories from fat, 5 grams total fat, 1 gram saturated fat, 0 milligrams cholesterol, 1 gram carbohydrates, 0 grams total fiber, 0 grams total sugars, 0 grams net carbs, 0 grams protein, 50 milligrams sodium.



Serve this with any grilled meat.

1 tablespoon diced fresh garlic

1 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley 1 teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon black pepper

¾ cup white vinegar

¾ cup vegetable oil

1 bay leaf

Mix all ingredients together in a small bowl. Remove bay leaf before serving.

Makes about 1 ¾ cups.

Chimichurri will keep in the refrigerator for 2 weeks.

Per 1 tablespoon serving: 51 calories, 98 percent calories from fat, 6 grams total fat, trace saturated fat, 0 milligrams cholesterol, 0 grams carbohydrates, 0 grams total fiber, 0 grams total sugars, 0 grams net carbs, 0 grams protein, 40 milligrams sodium.



This is a perfect centerpiece for summer entertaining.

Lamb marinade:

1 (3.3-pound) boneless butterflied leg of lamb

½ cup buttermilk

2 teaspoons sea salt

¾ teaspoon fresh ground black pepper, or more to taste

1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, minced

Basting sauce:

1 stick butter, melted

2 cloves garlic, fine chopped

1 teaspoon sugar

Juice of 1 lemon

Mix buttermilk and rosemary in a small bowl. Place marinade and lamb in sealed plastic bag and marinate in refrigerator overnight. Remove from refrigerator, pat dry with paper towels and season generously with salt and pepper. Bring meat to room temperature.

Preheat grill to medium heat and sear on each side, about 15 minutes total, until nicely browned, then turn over with a pair of tongs. Baste the cooked side with the basting sauce. When the second side is nicely browned, turn the meat and baste the freshly cooked side. Do not overcooked the meat.

Cooking time varies from 1 to 1 ½ hours, depending on the thickness of the meat. (For medium rare, an instant read thermometer should read 145 degrees.)

Carve the meat into thin slices and serve.

Serves 6.

Per serving: 597 calories, 65 percent calories from fat, 43 grams total fat, 20 grams saturated fat, 193 milligrams cholesterol, 2 grams carbohydrates, 0 grams total fiber, 2 grams total sugars, 2 grams net carbs, 46 grams protein, 545 milligrams sodium.

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