June 28, 2010

Elimination Round

On to the Round of 16! Stepping into the elimination stage, we take a look at the foods of those countries that have made the cut:

Uruguay found its way on the menu several times since opening day, twice fused with France in Dulce de Leche Crème Brulée and Duck Confi Ravioli. They'll face South Korea on Saturday, a country we've seen in spicy and distinctly Asian short ribs.

Later on Saturday, the US faces Ghana in an unexpected match. Ghana may compete on the pitch, but in the World Cup of Food, USA is a clear winner with Bacon Brownie Cupcakes and Texas Peach Pie over Ghana's Jollof rice. However, a Ghanian spin on German Black Forest Cake may be one of the 2010 WCFC's crowning achievements.

Later on in the weekend, England will face a formidable opponent in Germany in what is sure to be a violent match between the two rivals. While it may be World War on the pitch, Käsespätzle, or German mac 'n cheese, made a great addition to our English Ploughman's Lunch, albeit with an Algerian twist.
Earl Grey Ice Cream, however, would be an unlikely topping for our bananas Ghana take on German Black Forest Cake.

Argentina versus Mexico presents a great opportunity for exploring two complimentary, but unique and exciting cuisines. While Argentina will always hold a special place in our hearts for blessing us with Chimichurri and Malbec, we'd find it tough to live without tacos, margaritas and Arroz Mexicana. They both win when filled with Duck confit in the form of empanadas and tamales, and while, sure, its all fun and games when we're all beat France, but only one will walk off the pitch a winner after Sunday's game.

Come Monday, The Netherlands will play Slovakia to remind us just how tired we are of Gouda and dishes that end in "-sky." Nevertheless, we did enjoy both naming and eating the Danish/Dutch Stampot of Burning Love along with Slovak goulash and bryndzové halušky. The clear winner here is Slovakia's Bublanina, though we doubt they'll prove so successful in the game as opposed to the kitchen.

Brazil has dominated our menus when compared to Chile, as it will likely dominate during Monday's game. It would be difficult for anything to stand up to Feijoada and Caipirinhas
although the Chilean seafood included in our Paella provides ample competition.

Regardless of what happens during Japan v Paraguay, the game and cuisine are sure to take backstage to the Iberian feast we have planned for Spain v Portugal. You're likely to have noticed by now through my single inclusion of Japan in a dipping sauce that this is a cuisine that has never quite been able to interest me. Paraguay, on the other hand, with its hearty reflections of Argentina and indigenous cultures, I find enticing. Dishes such as Sopa Paragauay, with the slight deviation of adding my homegrown green chile, and the fried deliciousness of the Milanesa make this landlocked Latin American country the clear winner in this match. My bets are on them for the game as well.

Portugal, the land of my beloved porto; the country that gave birth to Feijoada and spiced up Mediterranean dishes with Piri Piri has much to be proud of, but will forever take backstage to its larger neighbor to the east. Spain, more beloved to me even than porto for its Rioja, brings Manchego and Chorizo as well as Peras al Vino to the table. While they may win on the basis of these dishes alone, traditional Paella clearly puts them on top, so much so that we devoted an entire post to discussing their cuisine.

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