Music, Food and Fun Come Together with RITZ and Wyclef Jean

EAST HANOVER, NJ, May 11, 2010 /PRNewswire/ — Summer is a time for fun. And nothing captures the fun of summertime more than the block party, bringing people in the neighborhood together to enjoy great food and music. RITZ crackers, the brand that is Open for Fun, is teaming up with world-renowned music artist Wyclef Jean to serve up all the ingredients for this summer's ultimate block party experience. Debuting today, Wyclef stars in the new RITZ commercial, where he leads the RITZ marching band to a neighborhood block party and amps up the fun. The commercial features a remix of Wyclef's song "17", in an upbeat marching band style, created exclusively for RITZ.

"RITZ is all about fun! We are collaborating because music and food are always at the center of people getting together for good times, and "17" (Marching Band Remix) is a song that helps us remember how much fun it was being young and hanging out with friends," said Wyclef. "Summer is a time to kick back and have fun, and block parties are a great way to do it. If you've got RITZ and some inspiring music, you're off to a great start."

While Wyclef has focused his recent efforts on helping the people of his native Haiti recover from the January earthquake, he is also taking time to inspire people to create their own block parties. RITZ and Wyclef are teaming up to offer these easy block party tips, which are sure to make your party great:

  • Start it off with great food! Be sure to use easy and tasty recipes so you can spend more time with your friends and less time in the kitchen. Check out Wyclef's essential block party recipe: Island Black Bean Hummus Toppers (below).
  • Bring in the music to amp up the fun. Check out the RITZ Crackers Facebook page for Wyclef’s ultimate summer playlist (www.Facebook.com/ritzcrackers).
  • Get the whole community involved. Develop a checklist of needs and have everyone bring something to the party, whether it's food, music or games. Planning and collaboration can be half the fun!
  • Presentation is key. Use happy, bright colors to compliment the food and drinks. Try a tangerine-colored tablecloth with hot pink napkins, or citrus green plates with lemon yellow serving trays.

"The block party is an essential part of summer fun," says Sheeba Philip, Senior Brand Manager for RITZ. "We're thrilled to partner with Wyclef to create the ultimate summer block party bringing delicious recipes from RITZ and the fun of his music to people."

Find RITZ Crackers on www.Facebook.com/ritzcrackers, and check out all of the new features on the Open for Fun tab, including the "RITZ Rock the Block" game featuring Wyclef Jean using "17" (Marching Band Remix). There will also be a downloadable version of the game available in late June and free music downloads of Wyclef's "17" (Marching Band Remix).

Download the playlist, gather your friends and whip up this recipe for Wyclef's Island Black Bean Hummus Toppers and you're on your way to a great block party.

Make it yourself: Island Black Bean Hummus Toppers
Prep Time: 20 min. | Makes: 24 servings, 3 topped crackers each

1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 cup chopped red onion
1 jalapeño pepper, seeded, finely chopped
1 can (15 oz.) black beans, rinsed
¼ cup cilantro
1 tsp. lime zest
2 Tbsp. fresh lime juice
½ tsp. hot pepper sauce
72 RITZ Crackers
½ cup BREAKSTONE'S or KNUDSEN Sour Cream
½ cup finely chopped red peppers
½ cup finely chopped avocados

HEAT oil in a skillet on medium heat. Add onions and jalapeños; simmer for 5 min. or until crisp-tender. Cool slightly. TRANSFER onion mixture to blender. Add next 5 ingredients; blend until smooth. TOP crackers with bean mixture, sour cream, red peppers and avocados. Serve immediately.

For more great summertime recipes, check out: http://www.nabiscoworld.com/Ritz/recipes.aspx.

About Wyclef Jean

Wyclef Jean is a multi-platinum Haitian-American musician, actor, producer humanitarian and founding member of the hip hop trio The Fugees. Along with The Fugees, Wyclef has sold tens of millions of albums throughout his career. His most recent album is 2010's Wyclef Jean: The Haitian Experience.

About Kraft Foods

With annual revenues of approximately $48 billion, Kraft Foods is a global powerhouse in snacks, confectionery and quick meals. The company is the world's second largest food company, making delicious products for billions of consumers in more than 160 countries. The portfolio includes 11 iconic brands with revenues exceeding $1 billion - Oreo, Nabisco and LU biscuits; Milka and Cadbury chocolates; Trident gum; Jacobs and Maxwell House coffees; Philadelphia cream cheeses; Kraft cheeses, dinners and dressings; and Oscar Mayer meats. Approximately 70 brands generate annual revenues of more than $100 million. Kraft Foods (www.kraftfoodscompany.com; NYSE: KFT) is a member of the Dow Jones Industrial Average, Standard & Poor's 500, Dow Jones Sustainability Index and Ethibel Sustainability Index.