What is one event that brings the world together?
The World Cup!
What is one food that you can find in some form in almost every country of the world?
How do you give pizza summer twist?
Well that is where this comes in.
Yesterday my husband and I hosted our first party in our new house since moving back to the US. Given our adventures the past few years, what better way to celebrate than with an international theme intended to bring friends together through food.
I guess Foodbuzz thought it was a pretty good idea too as we were chosen for the Foodbuzz 24 x 24 event this month!
Around the World with Grilled Pizza: A World Cup Celebration was a hands-on event for our guests. My husband and I brainstormed six different pizza combinations each representing a country in the World Cup. We prepped the dough for the attendees and then let them create their pizzas based on our menu suggestions and their own preferences.
The preparations began on Thursday with many batches of whole wheat pizza dough (a modification of the Spelt Pizza Dough from fellow food blogger, Off Her Cork). These then became 104 mini-pizza crusts. We wanted them large enough to hold a few toppings, but small enough to fit multiple on the grill at once and for our guests to make several different varieties.
Work continued into Friday and Saturday with roasting tomatoes and garlic for the red sauce, and soaking and cooking dried garbanzo beans for the hummus. There were also herbs to be picked and garden fresh vegetables to be pre-grilled.
We managed to represent the US and Kentucky with many of the ingredients. These were then used to create more international flavors to build on the World Cup theme of the party.
We had three main sauces for the pizzas. A Roasted Tomato Sauce that quickly came together after roasting tomatoes, onion and garlic for about an hour and then pureeing it with a little salt, pepper, mascavo sugar and basil. The Mediterranean Hummus sauce was your basic combination of beans, garlic, tahini and fresh lemon juice.
I decided not to tackle making my own barbeque sauce. There is a local producer in the neighboring town that makes a fantastic corn syrup-free sauce by the name of Kentucky’s Smokin’ Grill. We picked up a couple jars of that, transferred it to the squeeze bottle and it was a huge hit.
The smoked pastured chicken which my husband prepared on the grill before the big event, as well as the pastured heritage breed pork sausage, came from Pike Valley Farm. If you’ve read my blog often you know is my favorite farm around.
Most of the vegetables and herbs came from a variety of local sources including jalapenos, yellow squash, green bell pepper and basil from our garden; onions, tomatoes and zucchini from a nearby farmer’s market; and zucchini from my Dad’s garden (not exactly local, but in the family). We threw in a few extra toppings to invite creativity such as button mushrooms, pickled jalapenos, black olives and even some bananas for the dessert pizza.
You simply can’t have a Kentucky party without bourbon. It paired nicely with iced tea and the fresh lemonade sweetened with Demerara sugar. There was also plenty of Kentucky Light to go around, a Kölsch style beer brewed locally.
Now that I’ve told you how it was all prepared. Here’s how it all came together. After topping their partially grilled crusts guests headed out to the grill where my husband finished the cooking process and melted the flavors.
Our friends took some advice for pizza combinations and then added some creativity. To our surprise, the biggest hit seemed to be the goiabada for Romeu e Julieta dessert pizza like the kind we used to enjoy in Brazil. Many people were new to the guava paste and became fans of the guava and cheese combination.
Below was our World Cup pizza menu!