Miss Party LOVED the tapas-style of bar grazing in beautiful and exciting Espana! It was so fun and sociable! Each ‘little plate’ is a taste of something new and different!
With Spain, and Barcelona in particular, such a hot travel destination these days, it’s fun to bring a relevant, but perhaps different, way of entertaining to your parties for a little excitement. Obviously, at home one can’t replicate the bar hopping aspect of eating tapas traditionally, but entertaining in the tapas-style of dining is very doable for a casual meal. The key to doing the tapas-style of eating is offering lots of choices; serving only one type of thing per platter or bowl and giving guests access to easily serve themselves on small plates throughout the dining period from the table at which they are sitting or standing around.
For fun, Miss Party will start with a little background information on how tapas is served in Spain. Almost every sit-down restaurant offers tapas, ‘small plates’, but the locals usually go to the bars where they’ll also find a good selection of tapas offerings. Groups of friends meet at a designated bar, chat around small cafe tables or at the bar and have a few tapas and drinks and then move on to their next favorite neighborhood bar, and so on for the evening or move on to go clubbing. Spaniards largest meal of the day is actually lunch, not dinner, so the tapas-style works perfectly for them.
Some bars, such as La Casa del Abuelo, open in Madrid since 1906, specialize in only one or two tapas (small plates) or pinchos (skewered) items. Abuelo‘s specialty is shrimp –their garlic shrimp is to die for! A shared plate and a short beer was perfect on a hot summer day! In one of the pictures above you’ll see Miss Party with her wonderful guide for Madrid, Carlos Galvin, at Abuelo’s bar. Behind us at the bar, notice the marble trough where customers used to throw their shrimp shells and trash instead of on the floor as was customary at bars in the early 1900s. Another option in Madrid for unlimited tapas choices is the Mercado de San Miguel. You’ll find anything you can imagine eating (and plenty of things you can’t imagine eating!). Miss Party is still working on the “open mind, open mouth” travel philosophy :)
In Spain, dessert is even specialized in places such as the Chocolateria San Gines, one of Madrid’s oldest and most famous establishments focusing almost exclusively on chocolate. Everyone who’s anyone has their photo on the wall. Their most popular offering is freshly made churros con chocolate which is more akin to a bowl of warm, liquidy chocolate pudding than what Miss Party thinks of as a cup of hot chocolate. Miss Party has one word for such things –”Wow!”
To plan your own tapas-style dinner party, continue to “Spanish Tapas, Part 2 – Serving with style!“
Viva la Espana!