Tapas is a popular choice of food for parties and family get together because it’s so simple. One of the best things about tapas is that it can cater to everybody with a range of different small plates available. Tapas can be any different small meal but there are some common staples, foods which are traditional in Spanish cuisine such as olives, prawns and chorizo style sausages. Throwing a tapas party is great fun but it can be hard to know where to start.
Keep it Simple
This is the mantra for your tapas party. Keep it as simple as possible. Tapas is designed to allow for relaxed dining so you can throw together whatever you like and then lay it out, allowing diners to grab what they want and leave what they don’t The number of small plates you choose will be dependent on the size of your party and your generosity!
Tapas are designed to be bite-sized and play a central role in a social event. This style of dining invites conversation and there are a wide range of different styles of dish which are easy to prepare, allowing the host to stay involved with the party.
Planning is Key
Plan your tapas menu around simple flavours that work well. Focus on creating up to a maximum of eight dishes which can be prepared in large enough bulk for the party size expected. You can opt for a 3:5 ration on cold to hot as hot food is always popular and then you can make sure that each dish has enough samples to allow for up to 3 portions of each item for each guest, as the small size means plenty of guests may go back for more.
Some of the simplest ideas for tapas can be bought ready to go. Combining together simple nuts, fresh olives and a touch of rich Spanish olive oil can be a great start and takes next to no preparation. Alternatively you can panfry walnuts or almonds with sea salt and paprika to give the snack a Spanish twist.
Other popular tapas dishes include patatas bravas, potatoes cooked in a thick spiced tomato sauce and padron peppers, sweet spicy chilli peppers cooking in olive oil and salt.
Meat based tapas include slow-cooked chorizo sausages cooked in their own juices and thinly sliced Spanish hams such as Serrano and Bellota. Prawns and squid are at the heart of the seafood offerings in most tapas meals. Gambas Pil Pil and Al Aioli are amongst the most popular, offerings sweet juicy prawns with both spicy and garlic based sauces. Crispy calamari always go down a treat too, especially when served with fried onions and chillies.
Top up your party fun with a few rich Spanish red wines and sangria cocktails and you can be sure it will be a night to remember. The Spanish theme could even run through to your décor, taking the vibrant reds and yellows of the flag as inspiration.
Maria Cumming Panadero is a Managing Director in El Olivo. She is committed to sharing her passion for delicious, high quality olive oils and fine food from her homeland Spain.