This tapas menu with 5 great tapas ideas is perfect for your Spanish themed dinner party. Great casual dining with friends and family.
This menu features 5 great Spanish recipes perfect served as tapas for entertaining at home. All are easy to prepare and cook. Enjoy some relaxed Spanish culture, flavors and fun.
Spain holds its own when it comes to the number of Michelin-starred restaurants. And the Spanish culture abounds with special Spanish dishes providing incredibly good value in bars right around the country.
So, with such a great heritage around food, we find inspiration for entertaining with some easy Spanish tapas dishes.
Enjoying tapas in a city like Madrid or Valencia is a great way to also tap into the Spanish culture. After visiting these 2 great cities you will appreciate what all the fuss is around tapas is and why Spain is such a relaxed place. You can’t help but enjoy yourself when you visit a tapas bar.
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Pinchos and Tapas Bars in Spain Feature many Special Spanish Dishes
Spain and Spanish people have given much to the world. But in the world of food, surely tapas are the greatest gift of all. To be sure, what are tapas? Simply put, they are just small plates of food, about appetizer size. But, there are more to them than that. The setting is also important.
The tapas bar is where you enjoy these great morsels. They are usually quite small premises and usually feature an outdoors area where you can sit and enjoy the warm Spanish climate. You often find yourself outside in a beautiful courtyard or small square. You will be surrounded by buildings which are often hundreds of years old. Honestly, you have to pinch yourself sometimes.
But, so what? What is the big deal? Why bother with tapas when I can just order a main meal? Maybe this little story will help explain.
My first experience in a Spanish bar, was naturally to order a beer. Elizabeth had cava (Spanish sparkling and just as good as Italian prosecco). Not only did we receive the drinks but along came 2 small plates of olives. That’s a nice touch. No big deal you think, but these olives were huge and Spanish olives are brilliant. We order a second drink and along comes another 2 plates of olives. We were in heaven!
A little later we venture into another bar and order a drink. (Ok, it was warm). This time, we receive chorizo tapas held together with a toothpick. Some establishments specialize in pintxos or pinchos, dishes held together with toothpicks (and often a piece of bread). But, here is the best thing, the price! The beers and wines were 2 to 3 Euros only and the tapas were gratis (free with the drink).
Then there are other bars which specialize in tapas and pinchos (rather than bars that focus on drinks). Here you will find a greater range of tapas and pinchos, where you pay for the food but the servings are much bigger than the free tapas, as explained above. Drinks are very reasonable in these establishments as well. And, the price is right for these tapas bars as well.
Here is where the Spanish culture really shines as everyone comes out to play in the late afternoon and socialize over a few drinks and some tapas. Honestly, it is a very convivial atmosphere and something I shall never forget. And great for visitors as the Spanish often don’t eat dinner until 9 or 10 pm.
So our visit to numerous bars in Madrid and Valencia was the inspiration for wanting to introduce you to the wonders of Spanish tapas.
A Great Delicatessen- Inspiration for Tapas
The Spanish culture is is very market-oriented when it comes to purchasing food, so another great reason to enjoy Spain. Walking through a market like the Valencia Mercado Centrale is like being transported back in time.
In places like this, the delicatessens are legendary, full of gorgeous looking jamon (ham), olives, cheeses and so on. Delicatessens provide great inspiration for tapas ideas.
Just to make you a little envious, the range of olives available at the Mercado Centrale is staggering and the price, just incredibly affordable. If you like olives experiencing Spanish olives will take you to a new level of wonder. How can something so simple taste so good? And the variety!
Another secret ingredients, Spanish jamon. Often expensive but it just may be the best ham you ever taste. It is sliced very thinly and a small amount does go a long way.
Easy Tapas Menu with these 5 Great Tapas Ideas
Today’s tapas menu consists of 1 cold plate and 4 hot dishes. If you want a Spanish themed dinner party, this tapas menu fills the bill. This menu of special Spanish dishes will feed 4 to 6 people. And, what is on the menu?
How about garlic prawns or shrimp, grilled calamari, with no shortage of garlic, meatballs (called albondigas in Spain) in a rich tomato sauce, and mushrooms.
All tapas in this menu are Gluten-Free and Paleo, except the the meatballs, which have breadcrumbs.
To access the recipes click on the name of the recipe or picture.
Jamon, Olives, Crusty Bread
To complete our tapas menu, visit your local delicatessen and purchase some jamon and olives. Some crusty bread from the baker will also work well, especially with the meatballs to mop up the sauce. Provide some toothpicks and allow your friends and family to make their own pinxtos.
Some further ideas for buying other delicatessen items include Spanish cheeses. You can’t go past manchego? Marinated red bell peppers also work well.
For a Spanish themed dinner party, there are plenty of choices.
Here are 2 choices out of left field to start with before you begin with your tapas menu. You could consider sherry. Spain is famous for it. Fino sherry is a great choice. And, for something quite refreshing how about vermouth? Yes, vermouth. It is sold everywhere in Spain and is often served as draught (on tap). Very moorish!
As for sparkling wines, you can’t go past cava. Spanish cava is just as good as Italian prosecco or French champagne. It is incredibly popular in Spain.
For still wines, the most famous grape varieties are verdejo for white wine and tempranillo for red wine.