The Football Foodie World Cup: Group F – Slovakia, New Zealand, Paraguay and Italy
Want to see a street view of all the stadia of the World Cup courtesy of Google? Of course you do!
(From Google Africa via John Ness and 2010FIFAWorldCup Tumblr.)
You would think you’d see some food vendors in there warming up on the stairs getting ready for Friday’s kickoff. Maybe they’re resting.
Interestingly enough, Mbombela, the name of the stadium that was built in Nelspruit means “many people in a small place” in siSwati. In English, we call it Costco.
Enough with the bad jokes and on to the food!
Group F – Slovakia, New Zealand, Paraguay and Italy are up next in The Football Foodie World Cup.
Slovakia – Zemiakové Placky
Zemiakové placky are a Slovak potato pancake that are similar to latkes, but made with a finer shredded potato. Nothing says Eastern Europe like potato, garlic, onion and sour cream.
“I won’t lie to you, Slovak food is peasant food. We can’t afford all that fancy stuff that our rich-ass industrialized Czech brethren feel entitled to. Nevertheless, necessity being the mother of invention and all, we have become masters of the potato. Seriously, there’s not a lot a Slovak can’t do with a root vegetable.”
Quick fact about the Slovakia team you need to know so you don’t look like an idiot this summer:
Not only is this Slovakia’s first World Cup as an independent nation, it is the first major international tournament for the Slovak football team. (And remember, don’t confuse them with the Slovenians.)
Exotic Slovakia food that the rest of us would probably toss:
Tlačenka, which is a pressed meat of pork shoulder and pork hearts set overnight before cooking.
Other awesome Slovakian snack:
Škvarkovník, a bacon biscuit made with a bacon sauce.
New Zealand – Meat pies
Ah, meat pies. As any Englishman or Australian can tell you, meat pies are just as much of their football culture as it is for the Kiwis, but too bad for them. New Zealand won the glorious meat pie for their World Cup Entry.
Made by baking sauteed beef and onions in a pan gravy into a pie crust and topping with puffed pastry and tomato sauce, you can see why the rich meat pie is one of best foods for a beer soaked stomach while watching a match.
Quick fact about the New Zealand team you need to know so you don’t look like an idiot this summer:
The All Whites (their rugby team is the All Blacks) is one of the weakest teams to make the World Cup. Ricki Herbert is the only person involved in both of the Kiwi’s World Cup appearances; as a player in 1982 and now as their coach.
Exotic New Zealand food that the rest of us would probably toss:
Everything. New Zealand is host to the annual Wild Food Festival which features some of the strangest foods from around the world. (Also, lembas bread.)
Other awesome New Zealand snack:
Hokey Pokey ice cream, which is vanilla ice cream with soft toffee pieces mixed in. New Zealanders are one of the world’s largest consumers of ice cream and this unique flavor is their favorite.
Paraguay – Sopa Parguaya
Sopa paraguya is a thick, rich cornbread/quiche hybrid served all over Paraguay with soups, stews and pretty much every other dish. Made with cornmeal, onions, mild cheeses, corn, butter and eggs, this filling bread/quiche can usually be found at Paraguayan weddings and barbecues.
Quick fact about the Paraguayan team you need to know so you don’t look like an idiot this summer:
The Paraguayans will be playing without their star striker Salvador Cabanas who was shot in the head last January in Mexico City where he played in the Mexican Primera Division. Cabanas survived, but still has the bullet lodged in his skull and hopes to return to football soon.
Exotic Paraguayan food that the rest of us would probably toss:
Capybara, the world’s largest rodent. Capybara has the unusual distinction of being declared a fish by the Vatican so Catholic Paraguayans can eat it during Lent.
Other awesome Paraguayan snack:
Chipa, which is a round, soft cheese bread.
Italy – Pizza
Of course pizza is going to be the snack food picked by an American to best represent Italy in the Football Foodie World Cup? Of course. And while pizza rustica (small squares of pizza from large pans) are more likely to be found on the streets of Rome, I wasn’t going to pass up an excuse to pick up a couple of pies from one of the best pizza places in the country, Pizzeria Mozza / Osteria Mozza.
Quick fact about the Italian team you need to know so you don’t look like an idiot this summer:
The reigning World Cup champions are currently ranked fifth by FIFA and are expected to make an easy run through the weak field of Group F. No one likes the Italian team other than the Italians. (And no, Marco Materazzi, the Italian player Zinedine Zidane headbutted is not on the 2010 team.)
Exotic Italian food that the rest of us would probably toss:
Casu marzu, a cheese predigested by (and full of) maggots.
Other awesome Italian snack:
Arancini, which are small fried rice balls filled with cheese. Or make some of the crostini from last season’s Friday Football Foodie series.
Voting and comments:
I would say that Italy is the hands-down favorite, but the way the rest of the voting has been going around the Football Foodie world Cup, I wouldn’t be surprised if New Zealand steals the Group and moves on.