Beyond the Toga: Spanish Tapas Night

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Away from college and the financial safety net of a meal plan that provides an abundance of options (although by the end of the first month, this abundance seems terribly unappetizing), summertime meal habits can cost quite the pretty penny.

“I love being home for summer, but it can get pretty expensive.” Caroline Mahon, Marquette University sophomore, said. “A big part of social life at home is eating out with friends,which really adds up.” 

An inexpensive way to occupy your time and your stomach is to throw a summer dinner party. Invite your closest friends (just remember, the more people, the more food) over for food, fun and conversation. Cultural themes make for a fun party that’s easy to theme your food around. For bite-sized dishes that pack a Latin punch, throw a Spanish Tapas themed dinner party.

Get Prepped:

Tapas are Spanish appetizers, but when served in a larger variety and amount, can serve as a meal in itself. Tapas are bite-sized appetizers that are usually focused around a protein, vegetable, or cheese. The best thing about tapas is that the opportunities for different dishes are endless. There are some tapas that are classics such as dates wrapped in bacon , or chicken croquettes.

Besides the classics, there are many other tasty tapas that guests would enjoy, such as Spanish style bruschetta , or shrimp in garlic sauce. There are countless recipes for tapas, so they can be as elaborate or as simple as you wish.

For drinks, a Spanish dinner is never complete without Sangria, a punch that is based with red wine. You can make your own sangria. An inexpensive Spanish sparkling wine, Cava, is perfect for toasts and for guests to get their champagne fix.

Get Dressed:

Encourage guests to dress in their brightest and boldest. If you want the party to have a more formal feel, encourage guests to dress up, especially in fashions from Spanish stores, such as Zara or Mango, or find styles that mimic the more expensive looks of Spanish designers such as Balenciaga and Manolo Blahnik.

Get Set Up :

To be authentically Spanish, invite guests over for a late dinner – dinner in Spain usually doesn’t begin until 8, 9 or even 10 at night, following their afternoon ‘siesta’. Decorate your dining room in bright and bold colors, hang the works of famous Spanish artists on your wall, such as Dali, Picasso or Miro.  To reflect the lively environment of the party, search the Internet for the best of Spanish dance music or Spanish guitar to set a more subdued mood.

Sophomore > English and Magazine Journalism > Syracuse University

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