North America

High Five… Mardi Gras Parties!

Mardi Gras translates (very literally in our case) as fat Tuesday. A day routed in a time when all thoughts of dietary restraint are cast aside and you’re culturally compelled to dine on anything fat. Traditionally this was to use up eggs, milk and butter before the long cold days of lent ahead where you were expected to restrain from, basically, anything fun.

This year, whether you’ve decided to give up chocolate, cheese, bread or just give up on giving up, check out these top celebrations of Fat Tuesday around the world… and the pancake toppings to take you there.

New Orleans, USA

The Party
The traditional home of carnival in the USA thanks to a high population of catholic immigrants, New Orleans bursts with colour this time of year. Celebrations go on for around 2 weeks and include parades, a bounty of beads and some truly fantastic costumes.

The topping to take you there:
Thick, American style pancakes with lashings of butter, maple syrup and bacon.

Venice, Italy

The Party
Watch out for the rising water and tell that Casanova to keep his hands to himself – Venice “Carnevale” is a welcome splash of colour in a grey February. Though the festivities last for a couple of weeks the main action is at the weekends, with the “flight of the angel” beauty pageant (the winner gets to ride a zipwire!), costume competitions and St Mark’s square bursts with revellers.

The topping to take you there:
A scoop of luscious Gelato – simple but delicious.

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

The Party
Rio doesn’t do things by halves. Heard of a little thing called carnival? Actually the largest Mardi Gras celebration in the world, Rio carnival is a 4 day vibrant, ecstatic, no holds barred tribute to life, colour, excess and Samba. Happening as we write it might be slightly too late to plan your 2014 jaunt, but there’s always 2015!

The topping to take you there:
Caramelised pineapple with a (large) dollop of rum cream – tropical paradise!

The Netherlands

The Party
Vastenavond is a 5 day feast that celebrates the original pagan origins of feasting before fasting. On day one the city celebrating symbolically hands over its keys to the “prince of the carnival” who has control over the city for the duration of the party. There is, of course, the obligatory parade, but you may be too busy dressing up and drinking with your new found friends to notice it go by!

The topping to take you there:
A Dutch style pannenkoek can be up to a foot long! Top with apples, raisins and cinnamon.

Sydney, Australia

The party
Sydney Mardi Gras is a massive, colourful and generally brilliant celebration of the LGBTQI community in Oz and around the globe. The parade is the biggest of its kind in the world and is the highlight of a fortnight of gigs, parties, workshops, comedy and caberet. If that wasn’t enough the after party has seen the likes of Kylie, Cyndi Lauper, Olivia Newton-John, Boy George, Delta Goodrem, Heather Small, and Kylie. Again.

The topping to take you there:
Can you cook pancakes on the barbie?

Partying and eating pancakes a marriage made in (a very calorific) heaven. Sign up to the blog to make sure you never miss a post about travelling, or parties or yummy food again.