03 October, 2007

Football Stadium Food

In a recently published survey which collected together data from traveling away team supporters throughout Europe, many sweeping generalizations were made about the quality of club’s grounds and their home supporters. For example, Liverpool fans were voted as the most passionate, while Old Trafford was voted officially the best stadium in Europe. Now I don’t claim to be any kind of expert but how anything other than Munich’s incredible Allianz Arena can take that crown is beyond me…the exterior changes colour for God’s sake! Anyhow, the point is that many of the ‘conclusions’ drawn from this survey are completely worthless, except for one: the crucial matter of which ground in Europe serves the best food.
Obviously no-one expects to be able to buy a steaming hot plate of duck a l’orange with dauphinoise potatoes at half time, but so often the choice is limited to just lukewarm burgers, frankfurters that are still frozen in the middle, indiscriminate ‘meat’ pies who’s fillings often look like they came out of a hospital bin, or if you want to play it safe, single slices of plastic cheese. However, away supporters have now spoken with their digestive tracts to say that officially the best three food services in Europe are, in reverse order…drum roll please…Norwich, Barcelona and Arsenal!

Kudos then to Norwich City, who would be once again enjoying a European tour of destruction, if only UEFA just dropped about their ridiculous obsession with footballing ability and instead started to rank clubs based solely on the quality of their food. However, given Delia Smith’s involvement in the club, and more specifically, involvement in the pie recipes, this is hardly surprising. Apparently the new Rabbit Ravioli-Ragout of Wild Mushrooms-Chicken Consomme-Tarragon Foam Pie, and Tuna Carpaccio-Marscopone Cream-Antichoke Hearts-Ocra-in-a-Cup, took some time to get used to though.

Barcelona keep it simple with simply enormous hot dogs, served up cheap and hot (like their women), while poll-winning Arsenal really do pull out all the stops when it comes to half-time refreshment. Very much from the American school of thought, the Emarites Stadium offers everything from nacho platters to chilli dogs, all served drowning in a variety of flavourless coloured sauces. That’s the way, at S-T-T, we like it, uh huh, uh huh.