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How To Host The Perfect Spanish Dinner Party

Impress your friends (and yourself) by using these recipes to make an authentic Spanish meal!
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How To Host The Perfect Spanish Dinner Party

Here’s a tip to save time and money this year: instead of going to Spain, make Spain come to you! That’s right. It’s time to host your very own Spanish dinner party. You’ll need recipes for drinks and a three-course meal, as well as some useful Spanish phrases for total authenticity. We’ve got you covered on all fronts. All you have do is come up with the perfect guest list without offending anyone in the process (good luck with that!). Spain, here we come.

Drink: Tinto De Verano

Tinto de Verano

When you think “Spanish drink,” sangria may be the first thing that comes to mind. But in reality, sangria is mostly served for tourists’ benefit and isn’t consumed by locals on a regular basis. A more common alcoholic beverage among Spaniards is tinto de verano (“red wine of summer”), a refreshing spritzer made with red wine and lemon-lime soda called gaseosa. Here’s a simple recipe for one glass, so just septuple it, or whatever.

Appetizer: Tapas

When you’re in Spain (or pretending that you are), tapas are pretty much unavoidable. And why would you want to avoid these delicious bites, served as small plates so you can consume a wide variety? You wouldn’t. Because of the rich and flavorful quality of our upcoming main course, we chose three tapas that are on the simpler side. If you’re feeling adventurous, though, feel free to expand your tapas repertoire — this list is a good starting point.

Tortilla Española (“Spanish Omelette”)

Tortilla Española

One of Spain’s most common traditional dishes, the tortilla española is often served as an appetizer or even as a light dinner. It’s a solid choice for your dinner party because it’s relatively easy to make, and its only ingredients are potatoes, eggs and onions. Here’s a recipe you can follow.

Albondigas (“Meatballs”)

Albondigas

Albondigas are Spanish meatballs simmered in a tomato-wine sauce. They can be made with beef, pork, veal or any combination of the three. This tasty tapa does take a while to cook (a little over an hour), but trust us, it’s worth it! Follow this recipe for meatball perfection.

Patatas Bravas (“Brave Potatoes”)

Patatas Bravas
Courtesy of Serious Eats

This tapa is ubiquitous in Spanish bars, but can vary from one spot to another. Patatas bravas apparently get their name because they have a spicy kick to them — they’re “brave” or “fierce” little guys. This recipe includes a garlic olive oil aioli to drizzle over the potatoes and a dusting of hot smoked paprika.

Main Course: Paella

Paella

Though it originated in the Valencia region on Spain’s eastern coast, paella has become a popular dish across the country. The base is always rice flavored with saffron, which gives it that distinct yellow/golden color, but from there it can be customized in many different ways.

Spain is known for its fresh and tasty seafood, so many varieties of paella include fish, clams, shrimp and mussels. Others include chicken or rabbit. Still others contain all of the above! A vegetarian-friendly paella is also an option, and it often includes beans, artichokes and eggplant. This scrumptious recipe is a fairly standard version, combining chicken and seafood, but feel free to tailor it to you and your guests by replacing or removing any of the meats.

Dessert: Churros Con Chocolate

Churros Con Chocolate

In my humble opinion, the best part of any meal is dessert, and this sweet treat is sure to please. Churros are staples of Spanish and Portuguese cuisine. They’re fried dough pastries, usually sprinkled with cinnamon or powdered sugar. The person who first came up with the idea to dip them in thick, hot chocolate is unknown, but they should be found and rewarded. It’s common for people in Madrid and other Spanish cities to eat churros con chocolate for breakfast or a snack, and they often become a go-to food for socializing. Here’s a good recipe to work from.

Key Spanish Phrases

I’m hungry — Tengo hambre

I’m full — Estoy lleno/a

Please — Por favor

Thank you — Gracias

You’re welcome — De nada

Enjoy your meal — Buen provecho

It’s delicious! — ¡Es delicioso/a!

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