By Kimberly Dumo, Contributing Reporter

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Beautiful beaches and sunny weather is the forecast for this year’s Thanksgiving in Rio, not exactly the image typically conjured by Americans far from home on this early winter holiday. Yet those who find themselves in Rio can drum up some holiday comfort thanks to The American Society of Rio de Janeiro (AmSoc Rio), as well as the American-expatriate owned Gringo Café.

A traditional Thanksgiving Dinner plate, Rio de Janeiro
A traditional Thanksgiving Dinner plate, photo by Tsuacctnt/Flickr Creative Commons License.

The traditional U.S. holiday is meant to bring families and friends together for some good food and drink, giving thanks for all that we have.  Just because there isn’t snow on the ground or frost on the window doesn’t mean one can’t indulge in a glass of red wine and some good old-fashioned roast turkey.

Victor Mizarelli, from Greenwich, Connecticut reminisces, “I miss my family’s cooking and celebration during the holidays, but it’s definitely good to see people staying with the tradition down here.  I’m dying for a slice of turkey.”

AmSoc Rio’s Thanksgiving event will be held at the beautiful grounds and spacious hall of The Union Church in Barra on Sunday the 27th this year. The change in venue from last year, which was at the JW Marriott, allows for a much lower cost per person (now only R$45 for members and R$65 for non-members).

As usual, AmSoc Rio will be serving turkey and ham, stuffing, mashed potatoes, corn soufflé, green bean casserole, cranberry sauce (shipped in from the U.S.), vegetables and rolls, all smothered in a delicious gravy. Not to mention the button-popping pie and chocolate cake which will be served for dessert.

The event will begin at 1PM and tickets can be purchased on their web site.  Over 150 people are expected to attend and David Huffard, president of AmSoc Rio says, “We very much hope this year to encourage families with their children and friends to come and enjoy the Sunday afternoon.”

AmSoc Rio 2009 Thanksgiving, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil News
AmSoc Rio 2009 Thanksgiving was held in the JW Marriott in Copacabana, photo by Felicity Clarke.

On the actual day of Thanksgiving (Thursday, November 24th) the Gringo Café will be serving its turkey surrounded by all the traditional fixings.  Owner Sam Flowers explains, “At Gringo Café we really enjoy providing some favorite foods and events for Americans when they are away from home. We also enjoy sharing the food and traditions from our culture with Brazilians.”

In addition to the restaurant’s classic American cuisine, of course, the menu for the holiday is all about tradition, as Flowers lists, “turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, gravy, biscuits and green beans … all made from scratch.”

In the fashion of keeping the good times rolling, the café will be serving Thanksgiving dinner all weekend through Sunday. Be sure to make a reservation for this ongoing event, as last year it was a full house throughout.

David Huffard comments on the nostalgia of Thanksgiving: “We very much hope to foster the feelings of fraternal, mutual and appreciation for what we have.  That is what American tradition is all about.”


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