Tapas conjure the vivid hues of the Cote d’Azure, the sweet spice of cinnamon-laced sangria, and the strains of the flamenco in the air. A delicious daydream for all the senses, it is little wonder tapas restaurants have become hugely popular in the US.
Unfortunately, even though they do not include the Cote d’Azure, the cost of frequenting these places can start to pinch after a while. Never fear, there is no reason to drop the tapas habit; instead, bring it into the intimate setting of your home and enjoy the experience in a new light.
Where to start? You need three essentials:
Put some Latin zing through the speakers and the mood transforms immediately. If it moves the hosts and the guests to show off some Spanish moves, you’ve chosen the right music! A popular selection is flamenco, a traditional Spanish musical style. Let the intricate rhythms pique the senses and inspire the palate to truly taste each small plate.
Hosting a tapas party requires food to be served, obviously. The fun lies in the sampling of different dishes, never letting the taste buds become bored with any one plate. Recipes and options abound from savory garlic shrimp to an irresistible salty-sweet creation of chorizo-stuffed dates wrapped in bacon.
The amount of food served will be determined by the length of the gathering. A cocktail party lasting 1-1/2 hours will equate to each guest eating six to eight bites. For a dinner party, 12-15 bites per guest is a good standard to follow.
Setting the mood prior to serving the small plates is a cinch. Olives, good olive oil for dipping and drizzling, cured meats, and cheeses will pair with a Spanish wine or sangria.
Versatile tapas wines include crisp dry whites that have notes of citrus and mineral, and dry roses with citrus and tart berry notes are both good picks.
And don’t forget the sangria. There are many takes on sangria, but all require wine in the recipe. Traditional Spanish sangria will be spiced differently, but if there is wine and fruit involved, guests will be tickled pink with the authenticity of your fiesta.
Perfect for patio dining, throwing a tapas party in lieu of the traditional grill-out is a great idea to shake up the summer and wow friends and family. With a nod to the authentic and exotic, no one will leave hungry or unimpressed.