A Gourmet Dinner Club is a group of people who get together regularly, discovering an international cuisine, one country at a time. It travels beyond a mere pot-luck dinner. The culture itself is delved into and explored via its cuisine, music, dances, traditional games and attire that represent the chosen country.
The Rules & Guidelines
- Start your group by choosing who will join you on this culinary adventure. We started with 12 people, but the average attendance of members is 6-8. Make a secret Facebook group page for your group and add your members. The page will help you to remain organized, plan and document all the events.
- Decide who will host the first gourmet club dinner. Couples in the group take turns hosting dinners, lunches or brunches at their home.
- The host should make a poll to find the best date. The final decision on the date is made by the host. They should also decide whether they want to make it a dinner, lunch, or brunch.
- The host couple chooses the cuisine, is responsible for the main course and provides a traditional cocktail.
- Every couple makes a dish of either an appetizer, side dish or dessert and brings a bottle of wine. The host guides the group by providing links, ideas and suggestions. Posting a poll on your Facebook group page will ensure that people are clear on what everyone is making.
- The host can invite a couple to the individual dinner they host, but their invited guests must cook a dish and be informed that they are not joining the group but are guest members for the evening.
- The host informs the group on what to wear: Attire should be influenced by the country’s culture in a fun, creative or modern manner. Please refrain from attire that is negatively stereotypical, offensive and/or racist. The object is to celebrate the culture and the positive aspects of it. For example, when we did Brazilian night, we all dressed in colorful summer attire, even though it was the middle of winter. For Korean night, we came dressed like KPop artists.
- The host should play music from the chosen country. Feel free to get creative. You do not have to play traditional music. You can play pop, rock or jazz from that country.
- The host and members should inform themselves on games played in the country as well as cultural information on the dishes they choose to make.
- The food must be prepared from scratch. The idea is not just to explore a cuisine but also to try making new dishes that you normally wouldn’t make. Your ability will surprise you.
- The host can choose one easy side dish to be made when everyone arrives. Everyone can help and learn how to make it together.
- Before you eat, make a video of the host explaining the main course and how it originated. Each guest should also explain their dish and show everyone how it should be eaten, when applicable. during Brazilian night, our host made a Fejoada and explained the origins of the dish as well as why each component was added.
- Play games, learn dances, drink the traditional cocktails and enjoy learning about a culture and its cuisine.
How it began…
It all started when I kept seeing photos of my friend’s mom on Facebook. They were all of her with her large group of friends eating and dancing. My first thought was, “They’re having more fun than we are and they’re our parent’s age!” The picture above was of the women only during their Breakfast at Tiffany’s-theme dinner. They’ve been doing it for years, so I suppose they got creative with cuisines.
When we went home for our wedding, I made our wedding cake and gave her the top layer, which is traditionally saved for the anniversary. Since we live in Europe, I wasn’t going to take cake in my suitcase, besides, I can always whip up another one. She told me she would serve it for New Year’s for her Gourmet Dinner Club. That’s when she explained the whole thing to me and I was hooked.
As a newly arrived expat in Luxembourg, I needed not only to make new friends but also to develop friendships further. I felt this was a great idea to do just that, especially when my friends come from about 10 different countries. I knew I was onto something great.
Our Gourmet Club Dinners
Brazilian Gourmet Dinner
The first dinner was hosted by a Brazilian-Russian couple. While I suggest that you choose cuisines that are completely foreign to you, we decided to start easy by allowing people to choose the cuisine from their country, if they wanted to. They chose Brazilian and although it was winter, we all came dressed in colorful summer attire. They played smooth bossa nova all night long, which really got everyone in the mood. They made Caipirinha cocktails and Feijoada, a stew of beans with pork, that is served with several side dishes.
Korean Gourmet Dinner
Our second dinner was Korean and was hosted by a Luxembourgish-American couple. I made Korean Steamed Pork Buns and the main dish was Bulgogi. There was also plenty of Kimchi and other delicious things to eat. It was a cuisine that most of us had tasted before, but hadn’t had experience making on our own. It was great to go to the local Asian market and get all the ingredients for our dishes.
Venezuelan Gourmet Dinner
Our most recent gourmet dinner was Venezuelan and it was hosted by a Venezuelan-Italian couple who chose it mainly because most people had never tasted Vanezuelan cuisine. The main dish was Asado Negro. She explained that it was first invented by a cook for a wealthy family in Venezuela. The cook had burnt the meat and used several ingredients to make it taste good. The family loved it and it became a national dish. She also taught us how to make arepas. It was super easy to learn and I liked them so much that I made them for lunch that same week.
Peruvian Gourmet Dinner
We are hosting the next gourmet dinner, which is going to be Peruvian. We chose it because it isn’t a very well-known cuisine and because it’s delicious. Another reason is because we already have the Aji Amarillo, which is found in numerous Peruvian dishes, and the Pisco or the national cocktail, Pisco Sour. Unfortunately, there is no more room for any extra guests at our table. However, I would like to encourage you to start your own.
Start your own…and join the club!
Please join the newly formed Gourmet Dinner Club Worldwide in order to share ideas, post pics of your events and organize one large event with all the local groups.