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Jun 22, 2007 11:12 AM

Wine + "Tapas" dinner party suggestions

I am having some people over for a dinner party. I wanted to do a "wine tasting" of wines from around the world and have small tapa-like dishes to serve with each wine. My ideas so far:
Start with a sparkling wine (we like St. Hilaire - sp?) and some nuts then onto a Portugese wine (maybe a vinho verde - sp?) and have a plate of empanadas
From portugal we'd move to Spain - this dish is posing the most trouble for me. I initially thought maybe a gazpacho, but I didn't want it to overpower the wine. Any ideas here?
From Spain we'd go to a french wine - here I wanted to do a cheese plate with some fresh fruit.
Then it would be Italy - I wanted to have a vin santo with some cantuccini.

So...any suggestions or ideas would be greatly appreciated. I'm also not tied down to these countries...but I liked how they each progressed into one another, sort of like "traveling" through Europe. Also...does that not sound like enough food? I was going to bake some baguettes to have throughout the dinner.

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  1. Classic Spanish would be ham (some type of pork product), manchego cheese, fig or quince paste, shrimp sauteed w/ some garlic, etc. If you did ham & manchego cheese with a Spanish rioja (or insert your choice of wine here), you could then do a pate or something like that with your French wine.

    No doesn't sound like enough food, esp if you're drinking so much wine! I was recently at a wine tasting where the hosts roasted a beef tenderloin and served it w/ rolls and horseradish sauce after we had gone through the tasting portion of the evening.
    (Noticeably missing from this event was veggies - so that would be a good addition)

    1 Reply
    1. re: laurendlewis

      I agree. Classic Spanish would be a ham and manchego combo - like a croquette or the like. Garlic shrimp is considered one of the most popular (and easiest to make) of Spanish tapas. I'd go with the shrimp because if you wanted to do a cheese plate, then you're not overdoing it on the cheese. My wine preference here is definitely rioja or tempranillo.

      As for the French region - either a cheese plate (complete with a blue and guyere (or your other favorite), with candied walnuts, granny smith apple slices, fig spread on toast points is good here too. However, another suggestion would be to buy baguettes (like you mentioned) and do your version of an un croque monsieur (french ham and cheese with dijon mustard) - that is relatively small that you could turn into a tapas. Or I aguree - a pate with varietal crackers, cheese, etc.

      I also agree that you're not serving enough food - I like the previous post as a way to insure that your guests have had enough to eat.

    2. I'm having a party this Saturday and the focus is on Spanish and Latin American foods. The thing I'd recommend is Albondigas, meatballs served in a sauce. Clearly not a veggie...but I serve them at every party and they're gone in minutes. Simple recipe, if you'd like me to post it. It's from an old issue of Food&Wine, so I can paraphrase for you. Otherwise, you can't go wrong with classic tortilla espanola. My mom taught me how to make it, though I have yet to surpass the master (mistress, i guess in this situation).

      1 Reply
      1. re: brownie

        That would be CLASSIC spanish food in general, and I could eat 14 of them by myself, but that might be a good addition to the evening in general as opposed to a good pairing with the wine. Can't go wrong with potato + egg but ham or shrimp might better accompany the wine, personally.

      2. Well...the reason I was going for a gazpacho (or vegetable based dish) is to save a bit of $$$. I don't mean be cheap...but if I did empanadas I would do a meat filling and with the cheeses and wine it can get pricey. Also...not familiar with portugese food, so any suggestions there are appreciated.

        3 Replies
        1. re: izzizzi

          Good to know. That adds to the discussion. Don't apologize for being cheap! My advice is to ask someone to bring a couple bottles of one wine ("I am trying to find X bottle, and they have it at Y store right near your house - would you mind picking up 3 bottles? I'll ask them to set it aside for when you come.")

          My best advice with a cheese plate is that people NEVER eat nearly as much as I buy, so don't overdo it. And with the ham, it will be thinly sliced. A traditional tapa is 1-2 shrimp.

          Especially if you preportion everything as a little tapa (which would also be so so cute as well as economical), a little should go a long way.

          1. re: izzizzi

            I have a recipe for a clear gazpacho chicken broth based is that what you doing? That sounds to be perfect with what you're serving. To watch your dollars you could also offer a Fritatta egg and potato. Also a bruschetta with tapanade and or tomatoes.

            A Portugese potatoes and tuna red vinegar salad with parsley. love that stuff. Serve room temperature.

            1. re: izzizzi

              I think olives and almonds with the Portugese sounds wonderful, and i'm going to second the tortilla espana idea - inexpensive and very spanish, and will pair nicely with a red.

            2. You could always serve small portions of Paella. Bake them in small ramekins perhaps?

              1 Reply
              1. re: ashes

                That sounds really cute - with some sausage in the non-veg and more veggies for the veg, it would be great! Good idea!

              2. Thanks for all the great suggestions! I've thought a bit more about it and think with the portugese I'll have a vinho verde and serve grilled shrimp with a piri-piri sauce. For Spain I have this recipe from "The New Spanish Cookbook" (or something like that) for endive leaves stuffed with almonds and roasted red peppers. I was going to serve those on a dish with a bowl of marinated olives in the middle (imagine a flower). For france I'm still sticking with a cheese plate, fresh baked baguette, and fruits. Then still like the idea of vin santo and cantuccini for dessert. Oh, and to start the sparkling wine and rosemary cashews. I'll offer bread, olives, and nuts throughout the whole party. It's not going to be a formal "sit-down" dinner, more just everything on platters and you can help yourself. I think that's a bit more relaxed. I still wonder whether that's enough food, but I've noticed that people really don't eat that much. For spain I may throw in some patatas bravas...