By Sibel Tinar, Senior Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – It may be an exotic vacation destination for many, where people come to escape from their everyday routines, but Rio de Janeiro also offers the traditions and familiar tastes to the expats who have adopted the city as their second home, and Thanksgiving is certainly no exception.
This Thursday, November 25th, Thanksgiving is being celebrated in the United States, bringing together families around a turkey dinner; and while Brazil itself does not have the holiday, organizations and establishments that honor American traditions and culture have everything planned to make folks feel at home this Thanksgiving Day.
The day’s biggest event is The American Society of Rio de Janeiro‘s (AmSoc Rio) famous Thanksgiving dinner, which will be held in J.W. Marriott Hotel in Copacabana Thursday evening, and is open to both members and non-members.
Pointing out that AmSoc Rio has a long tradition of offering a Thanksgiving Dinner event, Lindsay Duval, the President of AmSoc Rio says: “For those of us whose families are in the United States or elsewhere in the world, the American Society becomes that much more important, a second family. We look forward to spending this cherished holiday of abundance together.”
The evening is set to kick off at 6:30PM with cocktails served on the hotel’s roof garden overlooking Copacabana beach, before moving on to a traditional dinner, including stuffing, mashed potatoes, fresh roasted ham, cranberry sauce, gravy, and, of course, turkey, carved to personal preference. Also the the dessert choices will include pumpkin, pecan, blueberry, and apple pies.
U.S. Consul General Dennis Hearne, AmSoc Rio’s Honorary President, will also be present at the dinner, to read the Presidential Proclamation, and present the Society’s prestigious Ralph Greenberg Award, which since 1974 has annually honored an outstanding American who has contributed his or her time and effort for the good of the American and/or Brazilian communities.
“The J.W. Marriott always welcomes our group and does a great job”, adds Duval. “We thank Darlene Honeycutt, an American Society member for bringing back cranberry sauce for our dinner. The meal wouldn’t be the same without it.”
AmSoc Rio member Rodrigo Winterstein, who has participated in last year’s Thanksgiving dinner, raves about the event by summarizing the experience with: “Great people, delicious food, wonderful location, lots of happiness, and the best eggnog I ever had!”
Praising AmSoc Rio’s efforts in creating a welcoming, comfortable environment that allows for easy circulation and makes everyone feel at home, “It was a great opportunity to meet new people and catch up with long time friends”, says Winterstein, who will be going to this year’s dinner as well. “The event sums up the real concept of what a Thanksgiving Day should be.”
A different option for satisfying Thanksgiving food cravings is the the Gringo Café in Ipanema, whose American owner Sam Flowers will be offering carved turkey on Thursday, along with the café’s new delicacy, turkey burgers.
Whether you choose to take part in the full traditional dinner of AmSoc Rio, or simply opt for a quick turkey fix, spending Thanksgiving Day beachside in warm weather, overlooking the world famous sights of the Cidade Maravilhosa should be just one more thing to be thankful for.