How to: Host an International Around the World Fundraiser Event

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How do you feed your wanderlust between trips? My favorite way is quite literal: With food.

Last week, I was invited to a travel-themed potluck at my friend Emily’s house — she called it her “Round-The-World” dinner party. She said she was inspired by our recent SweetsCrawl (blush)!  I’ve been to lots of other potluck dinners, but this one was so cleverly and carefully organized it’s worth sharing.

First, Emily selected a group of friends who all love to travel and all appreciate good food — no picky eaters here! After the RSVPs came in, she mapped courses from different regions of the world (e.g., appetizer from Africa, salad from Europe) and drew names to assign them to different guests. As one of the more creative uses of Pinterest, she posted all our assignments to a mapped Pinterest board along with fun travel photos she gleaned from our social media accounts. (Click here to see the board!)

The meal was presented in courses and at their turn, each guest was asked to talk about their recipe and what inspired them. Some dishes were inspired by our own travels. I brought iburigakko, an appetizer I learned about on my recent trip to Northern Japan. Several others were inspired by family heritage, like a guest who got dessert from Spain and brought her own family recipe for flan (the best I’ve ever eaten)!  Others were just delicious and beautiful creations, like the African curry soup and bean dip pictured above.

Though the food was spectacular, probably my favorite part was a surprise. In between each course, we played team geography trivia! Emily’s geo-buff father put together several handouts and a powerpoint presentation to reveal the answers. The questions were challenging and we all had fun working through them in our randomly assigned teams. Members of the winning team (mine!) were awarded bottles of “dictator-themed” soda pops (Joseph Stalin’s “Stalin-ade”, Fidel Castro’s “Havana Banana”, and Muammar Gaddafi’s “Cream My People”).

One sign of a successful event is when no one takes any photos. Even me, ever the photographer, was too busy stuffing my face, brainstorming geotrivia answers, and chatting up new friends. The picture above is the only one I took.

It was a really fun night full of travel inspiration and great food — a clever idea for traveling foodies and their friends.

Next time the party’s at my house … who’s in?

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