Travellers at home: Host a Brazilian brunch party for the Olympics

You’ve got to find fun where you can, right? Thanks to my hostess-with-the-mostest-mom’s traditions, I’ve inherited a love of throwing a party for a party’s sake.

Especially when you’re used to travelling or longing for another trip, it can break up the monotony of regular life to celebrate with some international flavour.

And thus, the idea for an Olympic party was born. I hosted this Rio-themed breakfast for the Opening Ceremonies, but the concept works just as well for the Closing Ceremonies, or, if you’re in a different timezone (in Australia, the Rio evening is our morning), on the occasion of a particularly exciting sporting event.

Details, photos, and Olympics recipes after the jump!

 

I had planned on hosting about 10 guests, but for various reasons there ended up being just four of us celebrating. I decided to dial back on the number of dishes I was serving and instead focus on a few key recipes. I tend to go overboard on things like this without M.’s sage advice, so I was glad for the sake of my time and money that I dialled the party plans down a bit.

I poked around the Internet looking for Brazilian brunch options, but it turns out that they have a pretty light breakfast most of the time. That was fine by me– I was planning to mostly drink champagne, anyway.

We ended up with an Olympics menu of:

  • Brazilian grilled sandwich with ham off the bone and sharp vintage cheese on wholemeal rolls
  • Gold Medal tropical fruit salad
  • Plain pound cake for something sweet (store-bought, but you could easily whip up a simple recipe if you have extra time and energy to bake from scratch)
  • Strong Brazilian-style sweet milky coffee
  • Champ-ion (hehe) Aussie prosecco from Victoria

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My Olympics-watching breakfast prep was super quick and easy and entailed:

  1. Slice cheese – you can even cut out this step by buying pre-sliced cheese
  2. Cut cake (I learned long ago that desserts get eaten much faster when they’re in smaller portions– people feel like they’re only having a little bite, so they’ll indulge more.)
  3. Cut wholemeal rolls for sandwiches
  4. Put out sandwich grill (or pan with large lid) and arrange plate of cheese and ham for guests to grill their own rolls
  5. Cut up fruit for fruit salad, then mix
  6. Make coffee for four people & set out tea options for tea drinkers

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That’s all! Half an hour with my sharpest knives and a cutting board, and I was done in time to sit down and watch some of the commentary before my guests arrived.

I didn’t plan any activities aside from watching the Opening Ceremonies, since the coffee was still kicking in, but you could make up a fun international trivia game to keep people busy as you eat. Even more points if you get your guests out in the yard competing in make-shift Olympic events!

 

My Gold Medal Tropical Fruit Salad Recipe

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I could have bought papaya and açai to toss in here but I was trying to cut costs. Papaya would definitely make things more authentic, so consider it if it’s in season where you live.

The passion fruit and ginger give the fruit salad a punch of flavour and ensure that no juice or yogurt is needed as dressing, but you can feel free to add some orange juice or coconut milk if you like your fruit salad a bit juicier.

Ingredients:

  • 1 large pineapple, cut into chunks
  • 2 large navel oranges, peeled and diced
  • 2 bananas, sliced
  • 3 passionfruits
  • Handful of pomegranate seeds (totally inauthentic and unnecessary; I just had them on hand)
  • Small knob of ginger root, finely chopped

Method:

Cut first five ingredients (all but ginger) and combine in a large bowl. Stir fruit well, then distribute chopped ginger evenly. Chill for half an hour before serving.

 

That was it! A cheap, easy Brazilian brunch to celebrate the Olympics. This party plan could so easily be modified to be an evening cocktail affair (just subtract the coffee and add more champagne!) or, with a bit of a tweak of the menu, to celebrate a different international holiday like the Italian Ferragosto on August 15th or even a viewing party for the U.S. election results in November.

So when you’re feeling like travelling but can’t, just do what I do and throw a party with international flair for almost no reason!

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