Spanish cuisine virtually overflows with delectable dishes, desserts, and beverages, making each aspect of the party’s menu a matter to be planned well in advance. Offering up a complete menu of dishes assures that guests shall have much to savor and enjoy throughout the night’s festivities. For starters, prepare an appetizer platter consisting of food items that echo the traditional Spanish tapas like:
- – Bacalao (codfish)
- – Boquerones (marinated fresh anchovy), olives, thinly sliced jamon Serrano, and manchego cheese
- – Calamares fritos (fried squid)
- – Chorizo a la plancha (grilled pork sausage)
- – Croquetas (potato croquettes)
- – Gambas al ajillo (shrimp in garlic)
These can be served on simple square porcelain plates, although other great options would be to use elegant serving pieces like round terra cotta dishes called cazuelas or ceramic plates bearing colorful hand-painted artwork.
While Spanish appetizers alone can be very filling, let guests enjoy the many specialties that Spain has to offer. With a bowl of gazpacho served on the side, guests can enjoy plates of Paella Valenciana, a traditional dish of saffron rice mixed with meats, vegetables, and seafood cooked and served on wide cast-iron pans called paelleras. Guests must also not miss out on the famed cochinillo, or roasted suckling pig, the meat of which is especially tender and flavorful.
Ideal beverages that pair nicely with these dishes include Rioja (red wines from one of the country’s top wine regions located in northern Spain), Ribera del Duero (red wines from northeast central Spain), and Cava (Spanish sparkling wine from Penedes). Use a variety of glass decanters and pitchers with different shapes and sizes to add decorative appeal to the table.
Provide a perfect balance for the strong, rich flavors of the main courses with a selection of sweet Spanish delicacies. A dessert buffet table can be laid out with an array of treats like:
- – Almond Turron (nougat candy with almonds, typically served during Christmas)
- – Flan (caramel custard)
- – Montecados (spanish cookies)
- – Polvorones (delicate shortbread cookies)
After the meal, some guests may opt to linger at the table–just as the Spaniards do–and enjoy a nice hot drink. Beverages like café con leche (coffee prepared with a generous amount of milk) and chocolate a la taza (hot chocolate) may be served–the latter accompanied by a heaping plate of churros (strips of dough, deep-fried to crisp perfection) to be dipped in the chocolate.
Such an amazing feast requires an equally breathtaking setting to do it justice. Key elements to capturing that Spanish flair would be to use vibrant colors, eye-catching decor, and unique accent pieces as part of the table arrangements.
- – Cava – An article from About.com about this Spanish wine
- – Montecados – A Spanish cookie recipe from Allrecipes.com
- – Spanish Desserts – A look at the history of famous Spanish pastries
- – Recipe for Flan – A flan recipe from the Food Network