Popular Sports Stadium Specials Around the World
You can’t go past a pie and beer at the footy, but other major sporting events around the world have their own culinary traditions.
The Championships, Wimbledon
Pimm’s and strawberries
The tradition of eating strawberries and cream can perhaps be traced to Wimbledon’s 1877 origins as a garden-party tennis tournament. Now a Grand Slam event – the only one still conducted on grass – each year’s Wimbledon sees around 235,000 glasses of Pimm’s downed by spectators, along with 142,000 serves of strawberries and 28,000 bottles of champagne.
Pasta and Chianti
The hectic horse race around Siena’s picturesque piazza has been run since 1701. It’s neighbourhood vs neighbourhood and the competition is fierce. The night before the race, each neighbourhood (or contrada) hosts a dinner, with long tables set up in the streets and squares. Visitors can buy tickets to enjoy local cuisine and the region’s famous red wines, including Chianti Classico, produced on the hills between Florence and Siena.
Le Mans 24 hour
Champagne and caviar
Le Mans is where the tradition of a winning driver spraying champagne instead of quaffing it first hit our TV screens. It happened in 1967. There are countless brasseries and bars along the circuit for this taxing race, but the marquee of La Maison Pommery is a classy choice. With champagne for drinking, not spraying.
Bubbles and chicken sandwiches
Dining at the race that stops the nation has become more eclectic in recent times. But the unofficial Melbourne Cup canape remains the chicken sandwich from Melbourne caterer Peter Rowland. He produces around 20,000 of the white bread triangles every year. Laid end to end they would circle the track more than two and a half times. And race-goers drink more bubbles than tennis fans. More than 45,000 bottles of champagne or sparkling wine are consumed on an average Cup Day.
Chicken wings and beer on the couch
At the stadium, burgers, pizzas and hot dogs are the go, accompanied by beer. But the truly astounding statistic is the number of chicken wings Americans consume during their Super Bowl parties at home. In February this year the National Chicken Council was predicting that a record 1.42 billion wings would be consumed while watching the Kansas City Chiefs and Tampa Bay Buccaneers battle for the trophy.
US Masters Golf
Azalea cocktails and pimento cheese sandwiches
Pimento cheese (a mix of cheese, peppers and mayo) is a traditional sandwich filling in America’s South. And the most famous version is found in the classic sandwich at Augusta National Golf Club, home of the US Masters. The exact recipe is a closely guarded secret. The tournament’s signature cocktail is named for the azaleas that bloom around the course. The Azalea is a mix of vodka (or gin), lemon and pineapple juices and grenadine.
Mint Julep and Benedictine
The Mint Julep has been the traditional drink at Churchill Downs Racetrack for nearly 100 years. Over the two-day Kentucky Oaks and Kentucky Derby weekend, almost 120,000 of them are served, using nearly half a tonne of mint leaves. In Kentucky, Benedictine is a sandwich spread, not a liqueur. A mix of cream cheese, sour cream, cucumber and onion, eerily enhanced with green food colouring, it’s also eaten on crackers.
Pit Lane Lemonade and no peanuts
Two hundred laps, 500 miles. The Indianapolis 500 is billed as the “Greatest Spectacle in Racing”. But don’t ask the drivers to eat peanuts. They’re considered bad luck. There’s a story that peanuts were found on the floor of a crashed car in the 1940s. Pit Lane Lemonade, which features at post-race banquets, is equal quantities of Limoncello and Grey Goose Vodka, topped up with fresh lemonade (that’s the American non-fizzy kind).