paczki (Polish donuts)

Paczkis, White Castle sliders, macarons, brioches, whoopie pies—what do all these foods have in common? The answer, of course, is with proper application of one of these doo-dads, they become edible mini curling stones! Yes, you can host a gathering that properly honors the unlikely hero of the Winter Olympics: curling! Help turn irreverence into begrudging adoration with this viewing party theme that’s just kitschy enough to work!

If you consider yourself a fan of Olympic curling, then you know all too well the four stages of fandom: Disdain, Curiosity, Acceptance, and finally, Reverence. The stage of Disdain (or Angry Confusion), usually comes at first watch—what are these people doing? Why are there brooms? Is this really a sport? However, leave the broadcast on long enough, and you will find yourself shifting into Curiosity, trying to grasp the goal of the sport, wondering if the sweepers are actually affecting the path of the curling stone.

curling stones

Shutterstock

Acceptance comes when you find curling to be that mild, pleasant thing to put on in the background of a meal or gathering. And finally, you’ll know you have reached Reverence when you gasp at the realization that four years have passed, that Olympic curling is back! And when you find it interesting that most of the U.S. team is concentrated in Minnesota, and you think it’s so obvious that a dim sum bun is shaped just like a curling stone, and you note that this batter spreader is just cheap enough to be decorated as a makeshift sweeper’s broom—well, then you know you are primed to throw a curling viewing party that is tightly-themed, sketchily-executed, but completely frozen-Midwest chic.

Let’s embrace everything bizarre and wonderful about this UK-born and Canada-perfected sport, and throw everything stone-shaped we have at this quirky party theme. Now, what foods can you envision as curling stones?

Savory

Chinese pork buns

The Woks of Life

If savory is your speed, then you should definitely start out with our Cheese Ball Turducken, which you could ostensibly crown with that previously-mentioned plastic hook for a perfect curling-themed appetizer. For variety, complement with these Chinese BBQ Pork Buns as well as our own recipe for sliders (that includes the separate recipe for the buns themselves), both of which maintain the curling stone roundness with pretty good precision. And who’s to say you’ve gone too far if you affix blue and white paper circles to red plates in an effort to mimic the curling bullseye? U.S. men’s team lead, John Shuster, would probably not say so.

Sweet

paczki (Polish donuts)

Seasons and Suppers

For sweeter “stones,” Paczkis are obvious, right? They have that lighter stripe where frying didn’t cook the dough as severely, as well as the perfect puffed disk shape—not too round, not too flat. Another superbly-shaped curling stone dessert comes in the form of our French Chocolate Macarons. You can also get a long piece of white paper, sketch up a quick curling sheet, and set the table with your batter-spreader brooms. Heck, throw in some of our Pumpkin Spice Whoopie Pies, too, and you’re set with a full-on curling sweets table that varies in flavor (and seasonal alignment?), but presents guests with the curling-stone doppelgangers they crave.

Another trio of treats that will invoke begrudging smiles includes our Conchas Blancas, these Custard Buns, and our Alfajores. The first two are still in the realm of that recognizable stone shape, and while Alfajores start to deviate, the stripe of Dulce de Leche brings them back to whimsical-curling-dessert territory.

Reaches

kale and goat cheese risotto cakes

Chowhound

Let’s be real—these last foods are “reaches.” They don’t quite look like curling stones, but they are roundish, and they will make delicious and charming additions to your viewing party. On the savory side, we have our Mini Kale and Goat Cheese Risotto Cakes, our Sweet Potato and Chinese Sausage Fritters with Sriracha Aioli, and our Steamed Vegetable Dumplings. If you’re hosting a brunch-time viewing, you can try our Easy Cinnamon Rolls and our Cream Scones. With scones, you can even go the extra mile and serve with red currant jam, blueberry jam, and whipped butter in that bullseye design (either in a dish or on the scone itself)!

Now, I hope you feel armed with the stone-shaped foods necessary to win over curling detractors. The key is get them snacking on these apps and sweets long enough to catch a good portion of one game, so that they move into the Curiosity or Acceptance stages. Once you’re there, then it’s only a matter of time until they’ll be searching frantically online for streaming curling games—go Team U.S.A.!

Header image courtesy of Seasons and Supper.

Emily, a Chicago native (okay, okay, born and raised in the 'burbs), loves being able to bike to and from her job at a tech company. After hours, you can find her walking her rescue pup (he's a good boy), taking French classes (voulez-vous un macaron?), and thoroughly enjoying her city's excellent restaurants and bars. She lives for the Chopped-style thrill of creating the perfect meal from limited and oddball ingredients.
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