If you’ve got friends coming over for dinner or a special occasion on the horizon like a birthday or anniversary, it’s easy to turn a routine gathering of friends into something altogether more special by deciding on a theme for the event. One of the easiest themes is a Spanish theme, as it’s simple to understand and most of the things you will need are probably in the house already, or can be borrowed from friends and family.
A party is not a party without food and the Spanish idea of tapas lends itself perfectly to a party. If you’re catering yourself, prepare lots of different little dishes or canapés, such as meatballs in tomato sauce, chilli potato wedges, Spanish omelette made with potato, egg and onion, plates of olives, garlic mushrooms, chicken wings or battered prawns. Many supermarkets now do their own range of tapas if cooking isn’t your thing, or ask each person coming to the party to bring something to contribute to the food. If you do decide on cooking, then the BBC Good Food website has a range of Spanish recipes to choose from.
Sangria is the traditional Spanish party drink and it’s easy and cheap to make at home. The recipe for Sangria varies from bar to bar and from town to town, but the basics are red wine, lemonade or fizzy water and orange juice. Some people add chopped up fruit to the jug, and others spice it up a bit by pouring in a bit of brandy too. White wine can be used instead of red, and this is known as sangria blanca. Instead of orange juice make sangria blanca using white wine, lemonade and peach juice. Delicious. If sangria is not your thing, the Spanish are equally fond of their beer and spirits, so really anything goes when it comes to planning your Spanish themed party drinks.
To set the atmosphere for your Spanish fiesta, buy or borrow a CD of traditional Spanish flamenco guitar music. If you can’t get one, the same sort of music is easily found online and can be downloaded fairly cheaply. If you prefer your music more pop than flamenco guitar, some of the best selling artists in Spain and Latin America include Enrique Iglesias, Shakira, Gloria Estefan, Ricky Martin, Christina Aguilera and Cristian Castro. Most of their music can be found online, and check out YouTube to see what sort of thing you prefer before buying.
There’s no need to go completely overboard with your decoration and turn your home into a tacky homage to all things Spanish. Stick to the two main colours in the Spanish flag – red and yellow – when planning your decorations. Red and yellow balloons, streamers and coloured paper are easy to source in the supermarkets and online, and you can add to the look with any items you have like posters, flamenco dancer dolls brought back from your holidays, or travel posters begged from your local travel agent. Encourage your guests to dress in a Spanish theme by wearing red, yellow, black or a combination of all three.
Guest article by blogger Morag Peers, a regular visitor to Spain and someone who loves to throw a great party! On this occasion Morag has written for London Guitar Studio, one of the very best retailers when shopping for a Spanish or Flamenco guitar.