With the Soccer World Cup approaching, the chances are you aren’t going to make it to a pub for every match. And while there is nothing quite like the buzz of a bar full of shouting fans, there is plenty of fun to be had at home. We’ve dived into the culinary cultures of the top teams to bring you the authentic snack foods of the ones to watch.
What to Eat: As the host nation, we’re very interested in what Russia has to offer. If you want to snack like a Russian, you had better be ready for a few weird combinations. In Russia, cucumber Sprite is the soft drink of choice, easily recreated by putting a few slices of cucumber in a glass of Sprite at home (vodka optional). They are also mad about dill, so try potatoes with sour cream and a lot of chopped dill. A little caviar wouldn’t hurt either.
What to Drink: Vodka, if you are prepared to miss the second half of the match.
What to say: Well, this is awkward… The Guardian reported there has been a recent rise in racist soccer chants - including goading the French team by calling them monkeys and the widespread use of the term “gay” as an insult - by Russians in the lead-up to the World Cup. So bad is the problem that an emergency WhatsApp helpline has been created for such instances. Let’s just hope Russians don’t say anything at all.
What to Eat: Nigerian snacks are particularly spicy. When replicating the flavours of this West African country, think grilled meats, Scotch-bonnet chillies, plantains and peanuts. Nigerian suya is skewered meats covered with a peanut spice mix and roasted on an open fire.
What to Drink: Nigeria has a lot of interesting local beverages, including palm wine and zobo, “Nigerian red wine” made from dried flowers. However, if you are going for the real Nigerian experience, you should drink Moët & Chandon – the country is their biggest market.
What to Say: “Ea, ea, ea, oh, oh, oh!” Or: “All we are saying is give us more goals.”
What to Eat: Bit of a sausage fest going on here. The king of which is the currywurst. Try making your own curry sauce and pouring it over sliced bratwurst for the ultimate zwischenmahlzeit, (mini-meal). If sausages are not your thing, try a pretzel or kartoffelpuffers (the Germans really do have the best names for things) - little potato pancakes which can be served sweet or savoury.
What to drink: Beer, beer and more beer.
What to say: “So sehen Sieger aus, shalalalala.” (Translation: That’s what champions look like.)
What to Eat: When samba’ing around your house watching the Brazilians play, you can match it with one of South Africa’s great loves (since we won’t be there). This is the country to braai for, as Brazil is possibly as passionate as we are about grilling meat. Get your hands on a picanha-cut rump and engage in some heated debate about who would win a grilling world cup.
What to Drink: Ice-cold commercially brewed beers, just like us.
What to Say: “Eu sou brasileiro, com muito orgulho, com muito amor.” (Translation: I'm Brazilian, with a lot of pride, with a lot of love.)
What to Eat: Waffles! All the waffles! Oh, and some chocolate. Hell, why not make chocolate waffles?
What to Drink: Really expensive craft beer, preferably imported directly from a monastery. Otherwise mead you have brewed in your garage.
What to Say: “Allez La Belgique!” (Translation: Come on the Belgians.)
What to Eat: If you are feeling ambitious, try your hand at making bacalhau à brás, a combination of onions, chips, olives, parsley and cod. Less ambitious? Homemade pregos. Very lazy? Nando’s. Either way, make sure you pick up a box of Portuguese custard tarts.
What to Drink: Madeiran Punch, made with aguardente (sugarcane brandy), honey, sugar, and lemon juice. If you aren’t in the mood to mix up something, pick up a bottle of Porto, a fortified wine, when you collect your Nando’s.
What to Say: “Olé, Ronaldo, olé!” (Cheering on their captain Cristiano Ronaldo.)
What to Eat: Empanadas! Delicious little pastries filled with either meat, chicken or cheese and onion. Sort of like Argentinian samoosas. Otherwise, this is another good time to light a braai, in this case called an asado.
What to Drink: Wine! Argentina boasts some of the best new- world wines. If not that, try the country’s traditional drink, called mate, which is a South American green tea analog.
What to Say: “Vamos, vamos Argentina!” (Translation: Let’s go, Argentina.
What to Eat: Cheese board, piled high with camembert, brie, crusty French bread and good butter.
What to Drink: Wine, as much of it as you can manage.
What to Say: “Allez, Les Bleus!” (Translation: Go, blues.)
What to Eat: Humble pie.
What to Drink: Your sorrows.
What to Say: “Two world wars and one World Cup, England, England. Two world wars and one World Cup, England all the way." (Translation: England will be sent home in tears… yet again.)
What to Eat: This is the time for tapas. Small dishes of delicious olives, cured meats and anything else in a charming small bowl for sharing.
What to Drink: Vermouth. This is the national drink of Spain - not that unloved bottle at the back of the cupboard, for your yearly foray into martini making. In Spain, the drink is sweet, red vermouth, which varies from region to region, and tastes like mulled wine.
What to Say: “Yo soy Español, Español, Español!” (Translation: If you are Spanish, say it loudly.)