A Melting-Pot Menu for July 4th Slideshow

France: Ratatouille

When slowly cooking fresh vegetables like zucchini, eggplant, peppers, and tomato together, these garden favorites break down into this stew-like side dish that originated in Nice, France. It is a great dish to serve a crowd, and if you have too much leftover, use the ratatouille as a filling for omelettes at breakfast the next day.


Wine Pairing: French Sancerre, such as Xavier Flouret "French Blonde" Sancerre.

Mexico: Margaritas

A large, ice-cold margarita is a summertime favorite for many. This simple recipe calls for three ingredients — tequila, lime juice, and agave — and can be easily combined in large batches for serving in pitchers at your Fourth of July party.

Poland: Babka

Different from the rolled babka of Eastern European Jewish tradition that is baked in a loaf pan, this rich, sweet yeast bread baked in a tube pan is an Easter tradition for many Polish immigrants. Traditionally studded with fruits like raisins and sometimes glazed with a fruit icing, babka can be served in lieu of coffee cake at breakfast when hosting friends for brunch, or with berries and crème anglaise for a patriotic party dessert. Just be sure to make it a day or two in advance to leave you more time to be with your guests.


Wine Pairing: If you were to serve this for dessert, pick a sweet white wine such as a sweet German Riesling — like the ones from Donabaum — or a late-harvest dessert wine.

Italy: Lasagna Bolognese

When you’ve got a crowd to feed, nothing beats a big lasagna (plus, you can make it in advance). And while Italians traditionally serve a Bolognese — a primarily meat- and milk-based, slow-cooked sauce (with a bit of tomato) hailing from Bologna, Italy — with a wide noodle like tagliatelle, why not use it along with thin sheets of pasta, creamy ricotta, and fresh mozzarella, to make this comfort food favorite? 


Wine Pairing: A hearty Chianti Classico like those one from Le Fonti.

China: Steamed Buns

With a history that goes back to the Jin Dynasty, steamed buns — served both stuffed and unstuffed — are a dim sum favorite around the U.S. In this recipe, inspired by the pork buns at David Chang’s Momofuku restaurants, tender roast chicken stands in for pork belly for a sandwich-like food that is sure to please both kids and adults at your Fourth of July backyard picnic.


Wine Pairing: Chinese food goes well with unoaked Chardonnays, like those from Gunn Estate

Germany: Bratwurst with Apples, Onions, and Sauerkraut

Instead of a hot dog grilling party this July 4th, why not have a wurst-fest?


While brats are typically served as a snack, accompanied by mustard and a tall stein of beer, in Germany, they are also a mealtime pub favorite when accompanied by sauerkraut or potato salad.


Wine Pairing: A Santa Barbara County Sauvignon Blanc from Great Oaks Ranch.

Sweden: Swedish Meatballs

Known as Köttbullar in Sweden, these one-bite, pork- and beef-based Scandinavian favorites are great to serve as an appetizer, with a side of lingonberry and blackberry jams for a touch of red and blue, at your July 4th party. You can also transform any leftovers into a meal by serving the meatballs over noodles.


In a pinch? You can also pick up frozen meatballs at IKEA — they’re known for them!


Wine Pairing: A Spanish Rioja from Bodegas Ysios.

Japan: Sushi

While you might order a couple of rolls with a seaweed salad for a light dinner, this healthy, pre-portioned Japanese food favorite also makes for a great appetizer that your guests can easily pick up and eat without dirtying their fingers.


Hosting friends for the holiday weekend? While you could order a couple of rolls from your local takeout spot, why not enlist them for help and have them roll their own vegetable or California rolls?


Wine Pairing: A crisp New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc from Te Awa.

Spanish: Seafood Paella

Traditionally, this rice and saffron-based Valencian dish is made with green vegetables, beans, snails, and a meat like rabbit, chicken or duck. Today, however, a variety of interpretations can be found, from seafood paellas to recipes made solely with vegetables. When made in a large paella pot, paella is another main dish that is great for entertaining a large group. All you need is a salad, some fresh-baked bread, and some good wine to round out the meal.


Wine Pairing: Serve a white Rioja; Bodegas Valdemar's Tempranillo Blanco is excellent but can be hard to find.

India: Lassi

This yogurt-based, thirst-quenching drink is often enjoyed in India during lunch when the weather is hot. For your July 4th celebration, it's a great thing to serve it to the kids instead of soda. With a consistency close to a milkshake, this sweet and refreshing treat is sure to please.

Greece: Moussaka


In moussaka, thin layers of broiled eggplant are layered with a lamb and beef filling and a yogurt-based béchamel sauce. It’s one of the most popular foods in Greece and can be made in advance in large pans for an easy, crowd-friendly meal.

Wine Pairing: An indigenous Greek red wine such as a Xinomavro, Krassato, Stavroto; Alyssa prefers the Tsantali Rapsani Reserve.

Brazil: Pão de Queijo

Similar to the French pâte à choux, these cheese buns are typically made with manioc flour, which is starchier than regular flour. They are a favorite in Brazil, where they're eaten for breakfast as a snack. Served piping hot out of the oven, they also make for a festive party appetizer for a 4th of July celebration.


Wine Pairing: A Chilean Sauvignon Blanc, such as Kingston Family Vineyards Tobbiano or Sauvignon Blanc.