Tapas and Sangria

Tapas, the name for appetizers, finger foods and canapés that originated in Spain, have been one of the food sensations that hit Austin and stuck around. The idea of four or five small plates shared with friends really connects with us. The fact that the food happens to be delicious and pairs perfectly with refreshing sangria doesn’t hurt either! We created this themed shower recently for a bride (our own Leah McGarry!) who was traveling to Spain for her honeymoon. We love honeymoon-themed showers, but it also could work for any non-traditional bride – it’s the cocktail party’s trendier sister!

We didn't even plan on coordinating - promise!

A key to a tapas party is balancing the menu. Many tapas are fried, so it’s important to take this into consideration when selecting what you want to serve. You don’t want them to all be fried, or all be dough-based and risk your table looking like a fast-food combo meal. You should go for an assortment of hot and cold as well as some color on the table. You can incorporate the Spanish theme so that you are authentic, or mix in any appetizers you know to be crowd-pleasers. Here are our picks, and don’t forget you can download our Party Menu to help make your planning easy!

  • Empanadas: a Spanish filled pastry, they can be either baked or fried. They can be stuffed with literally any combination: meats, cheese, vegetables, etc. We did two varieties, a spicy chicken and cream cheese, and also a more traditional beef and olive-stuffed version. These are easy to make the day before, and even enjoy as leftovers (if there are any!)

Food Labels were not only functional at this shower, but even
added to the fun by using the Spanish names for all the dishes

  • Spanish Tortilla: also called Spanish Omelet, this is a traditional dish that is served hot or cold, day or night in Spain. Again this dish can be customized to suit your crowd by adding meats or vegetables, but the basic version involves eggs, potatoes and onions. It’s made on the stove top, and like the empanadas can be made the day before and served cold, reheated or at room temperature at your party.

  • Feta Stuffed Tomatoes: This is one of those dishes I mentioned that’s not particularly Spanish, but is colorful and delicious. You simply stuff hollowed out cherry tomatoes with feta cheese, nuts and herbs.

  • Prosciutto Wrapped Asparagus: Asparagus blanched, then wrapped in a piece of Prosciutto spread with herbed goat cheese.

  • Plantain chips with salsa: You can buy these store bought or make your own. We picked a selection of different salsas to pair these with – the salsa also went well with the empanadas and Spanish tortilla.

Desiree' hand-glued beads onto toothpicks. She's like, a really good friend.

  • Marinated Olives: so Spanish and so easy. Great to set around the room in decorative bowls. Some other great Spanish style snacks include spiced almonds, and Spanish cheeses.

Now that the food is taken care of, let’s talk sangria. Again, you can go all out with Spanish wines and Cava, or keep it simple. There are so many sangria recipes out there so just have fun with it! Here are some of our faves:

Get festive glasses and serve it out of big glass pitchers, punch bowls or drink dispensers (this is not only practical, but adds to your décor).

Décor – or for today we’ll call it ambiance – is half the fun of the tapas & sangria theme. Download some Spanish guitar on your Ipod, decorate with bright flowers and colorful dishes, and use all your space by spreading out your food and drinks. The point is to get people mingling in between bites, not necessarily sitting down to a meal.

A cheap and easy way to decorate or personalize a shower -
photos of the  couple in  frames you already own!

Flowers always make a big statement

For favors we made Mexican Wedding Cookies and packaged them to take home. These cookies are always a hit!

What do you think of this Spanish take on a cocktail party?  How have you incorporated other cultures into your party planning?

Happy Planning,
Sweet and Sour Showers