A SPANISH TAPAS PARTY
& COOKING ARTICLE
Hints, tips and Spanish food
ideas for hosting the ideal tapas party
We often get asked "what kind
of tapas parties do you have over there in Spain?"
the simple answer is "unplanned ones!" This
is the beauty of tapas - the event can either happen
suddenly or can be planned catering for as many people
as you like. The tapa - Andalusia's finest invention
still lives on in the Granada region in bars and restaurants,
visiting friends in Spain also results in tapas being
placed on the table, a real piece of Spanish culture.
The best feature about tapas are that they can be almost
anything, given time to plan ahead a tapas party can
add a real traditional selection of Spain for your guests,
a whole array of colour, flavour and selection.
No tapas party should be without the Serrano ham, ideal
for both small and larger functions the full leg Serrano
ham takes centre stage at any venue - in the home, outdoors,
at weddings plus a host of other celebrations or party
events. Carving can be done before guests arrive and
during the party itself - a real taking point. Serrano
ham tapas are ideal for combinations and accompaniments
with fruits, wine and cheese - no tapas party should
be without a ham!
Chorizo's, salchichons, lomo and sobrasada etc all
make exceptional small Spanish dishes (or one spectacular
large one) served up with tomatoes and fresh red peppers
these cured sausages are very popular in Spain - almost
the backbone of a good tapas selection. Not forgetting
bacalao (salted cod) to add a seafood twist this highly
versatile piece of cod can be served on its own or made
up into cod fritters - a real Mediterranean flavour
sure to impress the guests.
Where would a tapas party be without salsa? Spain's
most famous dip should be everywhere at a tapas party
accompanied with breadsticks and toasted biscuits the
salsa is a fantastic dip to have on the table. If you
are planning to cook a range of tapas then Canary Island
sauce is a real treat - for marinating and also as a
dip. On the cooking side of things "hot tapas"
are always a real hit with guests - bring out your chilli
garlic prawns (gambas al pil pil) with a large plate
of fresh bread and watch everyone tuck in! There are
many seafood and meat recipes ideal for tapas either
hot or cold the key at the party is variation, leaving
the guests spell bound is a great achievement - don't
let out your secret though that tapas are easy!
Andalusia is the home of flamenco, vibrant, colourful
and impressive - make your tapas stand out with some
real and very tasty colour combinations, pequillo peppers
for example are ruby red, smokey and sweet in flavour
and another partner for those ham slices. Tomatoes both
add colour and flavour as do green peppers, asparagus,
paprika and certain fruits such as melon and passion
fruit. The key really is to create flavours and colours
typical of the Andalusia region, there are no rules
as such so experimentation is also important (even our
Spanish neighbour's parents still dabble in the odd
Spanish flavour combo from time to time)
Olives. Well the olive is an acquired taste, the Spanish
say that there is an olive for everyone - it's just
a matter of finding it. Tapas wouldn't be tapas without
olives! Try the flavoured variety with herbs or garlic
in small bowls.
If it is a real Spanish theme you are looking for then
you can't go wrong with some good Spanish terracotta.
Ceramics are both functional and decorative so wine
pitchers and cazuelas are a must for presenting the
wine or sangria along side the tapas dishes themselves.
Any good tapas party has atmosphere in abundance, guests
create the best of this but a little background music
adds that authentic Spanish feel to the function especially
Will the guests love it? Absolutely, a tapas party
is a great alternative to the traditional planned 3
or 4 course meals or even a buffet, a spread of good
food to be enjoyed by all. Lastly, on the night your
tapas party in true style should have not a hint of
organisation! Just let everyone dig in and enjoy something
a little different.
Just add friends!
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