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Aug 22, 2011 05:15 AM

Throwing a tapas party: what's your favorite tapas?

Hi everyone!

I'm throwing a tapas party in a few weeks for a friend's bridal shower and would LOVE some suggestions for creative, yummy tapas. What are your favorites? Aside from sangria, do you have any drink suggestions? Any ideas for unique serving/presentation?

I want the food to be delicious, creative, and a little surprising for my guests. Any and all suggestions are appreciated! Thanks in advance.


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  1. I love tapas and they are perfect for a party. I'm going to post again when I have more time but the first two that come to mind are:

    1) olive stuffed in a date wrapped in bacon. They are really good and very surprising. The acid from the olive with the sweetness of the date and the fatty/salty bacon. One of those better than the sum of its parts type of things.

    2) Marinated tomato filets (I recommend this one all the time but I don't think people do it - they should). Get some great roma tomatoes, blanch in boiling wanter and peel. Cut off the "meat" from stem to blossom end creating long filets of tomato. Salt and pepper the filets in a bowl and cover with olive oil (I add garlic slices as well) and let marinate out of the fridge for 4-6 hours. They are wonderful. Serve with slices of crusty bread.

    3) Duck rillette - I just did this for a big birthday party last week. It takes a lot of time but it is wonderful. If you wanted to be a little less "adventurous" you could always do pork rillette instead of duck (the ingredients might be easier to find too). But you can do it several days ahead of time and it is a great addition to a cheese/charcuterie board - and easy to make a fairly large quantity for a party.


    Mojitos are always fun in the heat and not too hard to make in large quantity and put in some sort of glass dispenser.

    For this last party we did Dark and Stormy cocktails. Ginger beer (I made my own) and dark rum. Another great summer cocktail. I think this is a great food cocktail too because the strong ginger kind of keeps the pallet fresh (in my opinion).

    More later . . . .

    7 Replies
    1. re: thimes

      I'd amend #1 to do a piece of manchego cheese stuffed in a date wrapped in bacon.

      1. re: Dcfoodblog

        I'll amend #1.5. Stuff the date with a piece of cured Spanish chorizo and wrapp in bacon.

        1. re: suburban_mom

          Another amend: Date stuffed with cabrales (or another assertive Spanish blue) cheese and wrapped with bacon.

            1. re: scubadoo97

              Best stuffed date idea yet, scubadoo!

              1. re: L.Nightshade

                I love it! There will definitely be a date assortment. I need a few w/out the bacon for my vegetarian friends. Any clever ideas for wrapping them?

                1. re: KasieB

                  Grape leaves? I've grilled chevre wrapped in grape leaves, it comes out a bit flaky and crunchy. I think it would be nice around a date, especially one with cheese inside.

    2. Classic offerings should include: bites of Manchego with quince paste, a lamb or crab stuffed empanadita, small squares of the classic Spanish potato tortilla or pan seared goat cheese polenta, marinated mushrooms or chickpeas, albondigas (meatballs) in tomato-garlic sauce, melon wrapped with Serrano ham, and a selection of my favorites, anything seafood, white anchovies, grilled squid, clams with chorizo, roasted pr poached garlicky shrimp, salt cod fritters, stuffed and fried mussels and sauteed mackerel bruschetta with olive oil and chilies. Even chicken wings roasted with garlic and lemons and grilled sausage bites are great. A selection of Spanish olives, roasted and spiced almonds, roasted peppers, fresh fruit and other Spanish cheeses, such as Cabrales, and sangria or a sangria blanco or sherries could be on the table. Crisp dry white wine or dry ros├ęs are very acceptable, along with a ruby Port for after. Bread and chocolate (toasted peasant bread topped with chopped bittersweet chocolate) would be a unusual sweet offering.

      Here's an earlier tapas thread with lots of other menu suggestions, a prep breakdown and some general fun comments:

      With so many options, I can't help think you and your guests will have a memorable time.

      1 Reply
      1. re: bushwickgirl

        I'm partial to the melon and jamon serrano, pan con tomato, Spanish charcuterie and cheeses, and Jose Andres' gazpacho (his recipe is available online). Might I suggest setting up a gazpacho bar? Make pitchers of one or more kinds of gazpacho, and have a topping station so that the guests can garnish their own servings (i.e. Spanish olive oil, Spanish sherry and sherry vinegar, diced tomatoes, diced cucumbers, grilled shrimp, grilled chicken, cruotons, etc.). Sounds like a great party!

      2. If you can get a tin of angulas in time and sautee them in a little olive oil with a few red pepper flakes, serve on crackers, it might be a fun first time experience for some of your guests.

        1. catalan-style spinach and toasted pine nuts
          fried dates wrapped in bacon
          cauliflower with dates and olives
          patatas bravas

          I second the tortilla, olives, cheeses and tomato filets.

          1. I have no idea how traditional this is, but a Tapas bar near my house does "painted grapes." The dover them first in goat cheese, then honey then chopped spicey pecans. They keep the coating pretty thin, but it's very flavorful and surprisingly refreshing.

            1 Reply
            1. re: luciaannek

              I do a different version of this idea - but I mix about equal parts cream cheese and blue cheese until it comes together and is well blended. Then I essentially wrap grapes with that mixture and roll each in chopped nuts (walnuts typically) - it takes a few to get the hang of it but is very easy to do.

              They are a great little bite. I sometimes cut them in half and put around a salad but this type of party I would put 2 on a skewer and serve.

              If you are doing a tapas party like this I also highly recommend checking out


              I have bought from them many times and a few cool picks on a tapas bar make a huge impact in terms of presentation. I have trouble finding them locally and think the site has a wide selection - there may be other sites too.