Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Spanish Theme Party- Tapas

If you’re tired of the standard barbecue fare for your summer get-togethers, why not try something more exotic, with a Spanish theme? Tapas—the tiny, tasty tidbits that are typically served with a glass of wine in Spanish bars—are fun, easy, and work well for both small and large gatherings.  A Spanish-themed party is a fun way to experience Spanish culture. Incorporate delicious Spanish foods from all over the Latin world into your menu, decorate with bright colors and get the party started with add some lively Spanish music and dancing.

image courtesy of socialcouture
Serving Latin cuisine is essential at a Spanish-themed party. You can stick to one country's cuisine or serve a little something from a variety of countries, using little paper flags from the different countries to identify the dishes.
 photo courtesy of lbratina
Here are a few country-specific dishes to consider:
Paella is a traditional saffron rice from the Valencia region, which is on the coast south of Barcelona. It consists of rice, beans, green vegetables, meat or seafood, and saffron and olive oil. Jamón Serrano, a dry-cured ham, is another traditional Spanish dish served cold in very thin slices. This ham can be part of a tapas bar that includes other small plates of cold, warm and fried items.

Here is a super easy gazpacho recipe I found online that everyone raved about:
1 large jar of salsa
1 cucumber, peeled and chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped
2 stalks of celery, chopped
1 clove of garlic, diced (I used 3 or four, YUM)
1/4 c. red wine vinegar
1/4 c. olive oil
2 TBSP lemon juice
1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
2 c. tomato juice
Tabasco to taste (I put in about 3 tablespoons for kick)
Salt and pepper to taste
1 sliced avocado, for topping
Sliced French Bread for garnish and dipping

Combine all ingredients, except avocado and bread, in a large food processor.
Blend ingredients to desired consistency.
For best flavor, place soup in the refrigerator overnight.
Top with avocado slices and bread then serve.
The ingredients in this soup can be changed and substituted to suit any taste. There is a lot of room for variation in gazpacho. Mix and match to find your favorite version.

One simple idea is to make a large batch of sangria, a wine punch from Spain made with a lot of fruit.


  • 1 Bottle of red wine (Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Rioja reds, Zinfandel, Shiraz)
  • 1 Lemon cut into wedges
  • 1 Orange cut into wedges
  • 2 Tbsp sugar
  • 1 Shot brandy
  • 2 Cups ginger ale or club soda


Pour wine in the pitcher and squeeze the juice wedges from the lemon and orange into the wine. Toss in the fruit wedges (leaving out seeds if possible) and add sugar and brandy. Chill overnight. Add ginger ale or club soda just before serving. If you'd like to serve right away, use chilled red wine and serve over lots of ice.
Addition ideas: sliced strawberries, peaches, handful of fresh blueberries, raspberries, kiwi, a shot or two of gin, brandy or rum, a cup of ginger ale, citrus soda pop or lime juice. 
Bright colors will set a festive mood for fun and laughter. Use the flags of different Spanish countries to add color and authenticity to your party. Hang a pair of maracas on your front door to welcome guests and make a little noise every time someone arrives. Use plenty of candles, string lights, torches and lanterns to bring a festive feel to your garden or porch. Get lights that look like strings of hot peppers for added fun.

Remind women to wear shawls (especially if the party is outdoors)

Spanish culture is known for its lively music and dancing. You can go traditional or popular, depending on your mood. There are many Latin dance CDs available through online outlets. Putumayo World Music is one company that has produced a number of compilation CDs of Latin music guaranteed to liven up your party. Some popular artists with widely available CDs include include Celia Cruz (classic salsa), Shakira (pop), Juanes (rock), Mark Anthony (salsa), the Buena Vista Social Club (Cuban), Aventura (Bachata) and Los Tigres del Norte (Norteno).
If you budget permits, hire a live Latin band to play mariachi, flamenco, bomba or salsa music.

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