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Mediterranean Tapas Party

A soiree, tasting, theme and celebration.

Spice up your next dinner party with these recipes and tips from the Artful Gourmet!

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Instructions for this party

For more recipes and tips about throwing a great dinner party, check out the Artful Gourmet Blog

For links to the tasty tapas recipes for this party, check out the "Goods" section at the bottom of the party page!

About the event

This amazing tapas feast has been curated by Kristen Hess, a NYC-based food stylist, photographer, writer and author of the Artful Gourmet Blog.

Wikipedia defines Tapas (meaning “to cover” in Spanish) as a wide variety of appetizers, or snacks, in Spanish cuisine. They may be cold (such as mixed olives and cheese) or warm (such as “Chopitos”, which are battered, fried baby squid). In select bars in Spain, tapas have evolved into an entire, and sometimes sophisticated, cuisine. In Spain, patrons of tapas can order many different tapas and combine them to make a full meal. In some Central American countries, such snacks are known as “bocas”.

The serving of tapas is designed to encourage conversation because people are not so focused upon eating an entire meal that is set before them. Also, in some countries it is customary for diners to stand and move about while eating tapas.

Tapas in Spain are often served between work and dinner between 6 and 9 pm and around noon on weekends before lunch. It is very common for 8 to 12 different kinds of tapas to be served in warming trays, and they are very often strongly flavored with garlic, chilies or paprika, cumin, salt, pepper, saffron and sometimes in plentiful amounts of olive oil. One or more of the choices is seafood, along with a variety of olives, bread, cheeses and meats.

Common Spanish Tapas include

  • Albondigas (meatballs with sauce)
  • Aioli (garlic and oil and salt served on bread or with boiled or grilled potatoes, fish, meat and vegetables)
  • Calamari (rings of grilled or battered and fried squid),
  • Chorizo (slow cooked sausage in cider or red wine)
  • Empanadillas (large or small turnovers filled with meat and vegetables)
  • Sauteed Prawns in Garlic, Peppercorn or Chili Pepper Sauce
  • Croquettes (small stuffed and breaded patties filled with meat, vegetables and cheese)
  • Olives, Marinated mushrooms and roasted red peppers
  • Spanish cheeses (Manchego, Cabrales, Mahon, Idiazabal and La Peral)
  • Cured Meats (Chorizo, Serrano Ham),
  • Bread, Olive oil and balsamic dipping sauce with chiles,
  • Tortilla de Patatas (Spanish omelette containing fried potatoes and onions)
  • Sauteed Mushrooms with olive oil and garlic
  • Patatas Bravas (fried spicy potatoes)
  • Carne Mechada (slow-cooked, tender beef)
  • Mini Paella (Shrimp, Mussels, Sausage and Saffron Rice dish)
  • Grilled Octopus.

Other Mediterranean countries such as Greece and Turkey refer to small plates as “Mezze” (meaning “taste, flavor, snack, relish”), which are great for a Mediterranean Tapas party to give it more international flavor and assortment. Serve a variety of dips with bread, pita, crackers and crudités such as

  • Hummus (chickpea dip)
  • Olive Tapenade (mixed olives and capers dip)
  • Baba Ganoush (Eggplant dip), Lemon Artichoke Tapenade
  • Tzatziki (Yogurt Dill Dip).
  • Dolma (Stuffed Vine Leaves)
  • Couscous Salad with Grilled Vegetables
  • Greek Salad (tomatoes, cucumbers, onions, dill and olive oil).

Sangria and a variety of Spanish wines (red and white) are great to serve with Tapas.

Tips for serving and decorating:

  • Have an assortment of brightly colored dishes and serving bowls and platters and linens on a large table and plenty of room for people to mingle in the room
  • Serve Sangria in large pitchers filled with fresh fruit (apples, lemons, limes and oranges) with cocktail glasses so people can serve themselves
  • If it’s an outdoor party, string globe lanterns in bright colors (red, yellow, green and blue)
  • Play a variety of upbeat, Spanish and Latin music
  • Decorate with bright flowers and plenty of fresh cut fruit

Playlist

Play a variety of upbeat, Spanish and Latin music. Check out this playlist from Songza.

The Goods

The Conversation

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