How to Plan and Host a Spanish Tapas and Wine Party

By: Genevieve Mc Carthy / Last updated: June 5, 2024

Estimated reading time: 13 minutes

Spanish tapas are fun, easy to prepare, and always a crowd-pleaser. Here are some ideas on how to throw your tapas and wine party for your (appreciative) friends:

Spanish Tapas


Tapas are a beloved culinary tradition originating from Spain. The word “tapa” derives from the Spanish term for “lid,” which stems from the historical practice of placing a plate over customers’ drinks, such as wine, to prevent flies from entering. As time passed, astute innkeepers discovered that serving savory and salty snacks on these plates enticed patrons to consume more beverages. Thus, tapas evolved into a delightful gastronomic concept.

In contemporary Spain, “tapa” refers to small portions of delectable Spanish cuisine, distinguishing them from larger plate portions known as “raciones.” Throughout the country, traditional tapas feature a wide array of cheeses, olives, meats, vegetables, and other savory ingredients. Additionally, elaborate tapas creations showcasing gourmet elements like foie gras, duck confit, and sea urchins have gained popularity, particularly in cities like Madrid, San Sebastian, and Barcelona.

Typically, tapas are presented on a slice of bread or within a delicate vol au vent, as the accompanying photo depicts. When served on bread, they are often referred to as “tostas” or “pintxos,” a term frequently used in the Basque Country. This diverse and enticing selection of tapas reflects Spain’s rich culinary heritage and innovation.

Guide to Spanish Gastronomy: Read more

Now, to plan your party……


Paco Lucia
Paco de Lucia

Create an unforgettable evening by crafting a captivating playlist on Spotify. Start by immersing yourself in the mellow by Paco de Lucia, followed by some flamenco jazz fusion album “Lágrimas Negras” by Diego el Cigala. Continue the musical journey with the exceptional talent of Carmen Paris, blending flamenco, jazz, and world music in her captivating repertoire. Then, infuse the playlist with the energetic rhythms of Ketama, a Flamenco pop band that will uplift your spirits.


Basque “Mantel de lino”, tablecloth

Enhance your dining experience with the exquisite beauty of Spanish olive wood bowls. These timeless and traditional bowls add a touch of elegance to your table and serve as versatile vessels for salads, bread bowls, and more. Their natural grain and craftsmanship bring a rustic charm that complements a variety of dishes.

To further elevate your presentation, showcase your tapas on vibrant and colorful ceramic plates. These eye-catching plates not only enhance the visual appeal of your appetizers but also reflect the rich artistic heritage of Spain. Combining delectable food and stunning plating creates a feast for the eyes and the palate.

Serve your hot tapas in the earthenware pottery in which they were cooked for a truly authentic touch. This adds a rustic charm and preserves the flavors and aromas of your culinary creations. The earthy tones and textures of the pottery add warmth and authenticity to your dining experience.

To complement your Spanish cuisine, serve wines in traditional “Chiquito” glasses, a hallmark of the Basque region. These small, elegant glasses are perfect for savoring the robust flavors of Spanish wines and adding a touch of cultural authenticity to your table.

Complete the ambiance by selecting tablecloths adorned with bright colors like yellow and red, reminiscent of the Spanish flag or maybe a traditional Basque “Mantel de lino.” These vibrant hues evoke the spirit of Spain and infuse your dining space with energy and warmth.

By incorporating these thoughtful details, from the choice of tableware to the room decor, you will create a genuinely immersive Spanish dining experience that delights all the senses and transports your guests to the heart of Spain.


Cellar Tours suggests this selection of wines for this evening’s fiesta! We have chosen a diverse range of Spanish wines that showcase Spain’s rich and varied wine regions. Our list ensures an exceptional experience for your guests by representing all the main Spanish wine regions.

Guide to Top Spanish Wineries: Read more

We recommend opening various wine bottles to ensure optimal enjoyment, allowing guests to explore and choose their preferred options. To preserve their freshness and flavors, we suggest keeping the Cavas, and white wines chilled on ice, enhancing their crispness and refreshing qualities. On the other hand, serve the red wines and Amontillados at room temperature to allow their complex aromas and rich profiles to shine.

Now, let’s delve into the meticulously selected wines that will grace your fiesta:

  1. Rioja Reserva: Hailing from the prestigious Rioja region, this red wine offers a perfect balance of fruitiness and oak aging. Its velvety texture and notes of ripe berries, vanilla, and spices make it a delightful choice.
  2. Priorat: Representing the rugged terroir of Catalonia, Priorat wines are known for their depth and intensity. With bold flavors of dark fruits, licorice, and mineral undertones, this red wine is sure to captivate your guests’ palates.
  3. Rías Baixas Albariño: Transporting us to the picturesque Galicia region, this white wine delights with its vibrant acidity and tropical fruit notes. Its lively character and refreshing finish make it an ideal companion for seafood dishes.
  4. Ribera del Duero Crianza: Originating from the Ribera del Duero region, this red wine showcases the full-bodied richness and elegance of Tempranillo grapes. With flavors of black cherry, leather, and a touch of oak, it promises a memorable experience.
  5. Penedès Cava: Spain’s answer to sparkling wine, Cava, specifically from the Penedès region, offers a delightful effervescence and bright citrus flavors. It serves as an excellent aperitif or accompaniment to celebratory toasts.
  6. Rueda Verdejo: From the Rueda region comes this aromatic and crisp white wine. Bursting with flavors of tropical fruits, citrus, and a hint of herbs, it provides a refreshing and zesty profile that pairs wonderfully with salads and light appetizers.
  7. Sherry Amontillado: Adding a touch of sophistication, we recommend including an exquisite Sherry Amontillado. Its amber hue, nutty aromas, and subtle sweetness create a unique sensory experience for your guests.

By offering this carefully curated selection, you can ensure that your guests have the opportunity to explore the diversity and richness of Spanish wines. Whether they prefer a crisp white, a bold red, or a celebratory Cava, there will be something to please every palate.

Tasting Notes

To enhance the overall experience of your fiesta and ensure that your guests fully appreciate and enjoy the Spanish wine selection, we highly recommend providing tasting notes or even enlisting the expertise of a knowledgeable sommelier.

With tasting notes or a knowledgeable sommelier guiding the way, your guests will gain a deeper understanding and enjoyment of the Spanish wine treasures you have thoughtfully selected for your fiesta. This will add more sophistication and educational value to the event. Cheers to a truly memorable and enriching experience!


Delight and tantalize your guests with an enticing array of Spanish tapas that artfully showcase the country’s rich flavors and culinary traditions. Prepare to take your guests on a culinary journey through Spain with this carefully curated list of pintxos and tapas that will surely leave a lasting impression.

Pimientos de Padrón
Pimientos de Padrón
  1. Patatas Bravas: Crispy potatoes served with a spicy tomato sauce and creamy aioli. This popular tapa is a staple at any Spanish gathering.
  2. Gambas al Ajillo: Sautéed shrimp in sizzling garlic and chili-infused olive oil. This dish packs a punch of flavor and is always a crowd-pleaser.
  3. Tortilla Española: A traditional Spanish omelet made with eggs, potatoes, and onions. Served in small, bite-sized portions, it’s a comforting and satisfying tapa.
  4. Albóndigas: Spanish meatballs made with a blend of ground meats (50/50 beef and pork), breadcrumbs, herbs, and spices. Typically, they are simmered in a rich tomato sauce, making a hearty addition to any tapas spread.
  5. Croquetas: Creamy and crispy croquettes filled with ingredients like ham, cheese, or mushrooms. Both children and adults love these bite-sized delights.
  6. Pan con Tomate: Rustic bread rubbed with ripe tomatoes, raw garlic, drizzled with olive oil, and sprinkled with salt. It’s a simple yet flavorful tapa that showcases the quality of Spanish ingredients.
  7. Pimientos de Padrón: Blistered green peppers seasoned with sea salt. These peppers are known for their mild flavor, but occasionally, you’ll come across a spicy surprise.
  8. Chorizo al Vino: Sliced Spanish chorizo simmered in red wine, garlic, and herbs. This tapa combines the smoky and savory flavors of chorizo with the richness of the wine.
  9. Pulpo a la Gallega: Tender octopus cooked with potatoes, olive oil, and smoked paprika. This Galician specialty is a true delicacy and a standout tapa.
  10. Boquerones en Vinagre: Marinated white anchovies served with vinegar, olive oil, garlic, and parsley. These tangy and refreshing bites are perfect for seafood lovers.


Tetilla cheese made in Galicia
  1. Manchego: One of the most famous Spanish cheeses, Manchego is made from sheep’s milk and has a firm, buttery texture. It boasts a distinct nutty flavor that pairs beautifully with cured meats and crusty bread.
  2. Tetilla: Hailing from Galicia, Tetilla is a creamy, mild cheese made from cow’s milk. Its smooth and slightly tangy profile makes it a versatile option for pairing with fruits, nuts, and honey.
  3. Cabrales: For those who appreciate strong and intense flavors, Cabrales is a must-try. This blue cheese from Asturias is made from a blend of cow, sheep, and goat’s milk, resulting in a pungent and creamy cheese that pairs well with crusty bread or figs.
  4. Torta del Casar: Hailing from Extremadura, Torta del Casar is a soft and creamy cheese made from raw sheep’s milk. It has a rich, buttery flavor and a velvety texture that is best enjoyed by scooping it out with a spoon.
  5. Idiazabal: Originating from the Basque Country, Idiazabal is a semi-hard cheese made from raw sheep’s milk. It offers a smoky and slightly spicy flavor, as it is traditionally smoked over beechwood. Enjoy it alongside quince paste or membrillo.
  6. Mahón: Produced in the Balearic Islands, Mahón is a cheese with a crumbly yet buttery texture. It ranges in flavor from mild and fruity when young to sharper and more robust when aged. Serve it with tomato jam or almonds for a delightful combination.
  7. Garrotxa: Catalan cheese, Garrotxa is made from goat’s milk and has a velvety and creamy texture. Its delicate and slightly nutty taste pairs wonderfully with fresh fruits, honey, or a drizzle of olive oil.
  8. Roncal: Hailing from the Navarre region, Roncal is a firm sheep’s milk cheese with a slightly smoky and nutty flavor. Its aged varieties develop complex notes and a crumbly texture.

Guide to Wine and Cheese Pairing: Read more

Other nibbles

Para picar
  1. Aceitunas: Spanish olives are a staple nibble in Spain. They come in various types and flavors, such as green olives (aceitunas verdes) or black olives (aceitunas negras), often marinated in herbs, garlic, or olive oil.
  2. Almendras Fritas: Fried almonds are a popular Spanish snack. They are often seasoned with salt or spices like paprika or rosemary, adding a delightful crunch and flavor.
  3. Pipas de Girasol: Sunflower seeds, known as “pipas” in Spain, are typical nibbles. They are usually roasted and salted, making them addictive and enjoyable to munch.
  4. Picos de Pan: These are small, crunchy breadsticks or bread “twigs” that are traditional Spanish nibbles. They are often served alongside other tapas or dips, adding a crispy element to the snacking experience.
  5. Patatas Fritas: Thinly sliced and fried potatoes, similar to potato chips, are a classic Spanish nibble. They come in various flavors, such as plain, salted, or seasoned with paprika.


Tarta de Santiago
Tarta de Santiago

These desserts represent diverse flavors and textures, and they are all beloved in Spain. Each one offers a unique and delicious sweet treat to satisfy your guest’s cravings.

  1. Arroz con Leche: A traditional Spanish rice pudding made with rice, milk, sugar, and cinnamon. It has a creamy and comforting texture and is often garnished with cinnamon or lemon zest.
  2. Turrón: Turrón is a popular Spanish nougat made with almonds, honey, and egg whites. It comes in different varieties, including hard and soft textures, and can include additional ingredients like chocolate or dried fruits.
  3. Crema Catalana: Crema Catalana is a creamy custard dessert flavored with citrus zest and cinnamon, similar to crème brûlée. The top is caramelized to create a thin, crisp layer.
  4. Flan: Flan is a classic Spanish dessert mentioned earlier. It is a smooth and creamy caramel custard widely enjoyed in Spain and other Latin American countries.
  5. Basque Cheesecake: The Basque-style cheesecake is a burnt or caramelized cheesecake originating from the Basque Country in Spain. It has a creamy interior and a dark, caramelized exterior, resulting in a unique and delicious flavor combination.
  6. Frixuelos: Frixuelos, also known as filloas, are thin, crepe-like pancakes originating from the region of Asturias in Spain. They can be served plain or with sweet fillings such as chocolate, cream, or jam.
  7. Polvorones: Polvorones, traditional Spanish shortbread cookies made with flour, sugar, and butter and often flavored with almonds or nuts, were mentioned earlier as well. They have a crumbly texture and are particularly popular during the holiday season.
  8. Tarta de Santiago: This is a traditional almond cake originating from the region of Galicia in Spain. A typical gluten-free cake, comprising ground almonds, sugar, and eggs, usually features a dusting of powdered sugar.It has a moist and dense texture with a nutty flavor.

Dessert Wines

With the guidance of your knowledgeable sommelier or our comprehensive Spanish Dessert guide linked below, you can discover the perfect wine to complement your sweet indulgence. From the rich and velvety Pedro Ximénez to the aromatic Moscatel, these suggestions will help you navigate the diverse world of Spanish dessert wines. 

  1. Pedro Ximénez (PX): Pedro Ximénez is a sweet, dark, and rich dessert wine made from dried Pedro Ximénez grapes. It offers intense flavors of raisins, figs, caramel, and chocolate.
  2. Moscatel: Moscatel, a sweet wine crafted from Muscat grapes, is celebrated for its floral aromas and fruity flavors, which include notes of apricot, peach, and orange blossom. Moscatel wines can range from light and refreshing to rich and honeyed.
  3. Oloroso: Oloroso is a fortified wine produced in the Sherry region of Spain. While not strictly a dessert wine, it is often enjoyed after a meal due to its rich, nutty flavors and slightly sweet notes.

Guide to Spanish Dessert Wines: Read more

We hope your Spanish tapas fiesta is a hit; tell us how it goes!


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Genevieve Mc Carthy

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11 thoughts on “How to Plan and Host a Spanish Tapas and Wine Party

Xenia Querciolisays:

April 8, 2012 at 8:57 pm

Im looking for a USA winery vineyard directory, any suggestions?

Tina Gregoiresays:

April 7, 2012 at 6:50 pm

There is a lot of fantastic white wine out there that isn't sweet at all. Make sure to ask for a dry white wine, this means there is no sugar in it at all. Some of my favorite white wines smell like fresh rain on granite, they are minerally and bubbly, similar to sparkling water.

Brianna Lovenburysays:

December 2, 2010 at 5:13 pm

Thank you so much, this was very interesting. I was actually born in Madrid (I'm not telling what year though!) but was moved around europe and finally settled in Britain when I was 7. I dont remember much of the few years I was in spain, but the smell of spanish food always seems to ring a bell in me or something. Funny, how I dont remember anything except the smells,isn't it! I actually found a internet site dedicated to spanish recipes, which gave me great delight and thought I ought to share. Anyway, thank you again. I'll get my son to add your website to my rss thing...

Dining Highlights Barcelona- Foodie Weekend | Cellar Tours Blogsays:

November 8, 2010 at 8:51 pm

[...] Kate who owns the truly wonderful Taller de Tapas chain (in our view the freshest and absolute best tapas in Barcelona!) invited us down to her newest venue in Barcelona, the Casa Delfín, a historic and [...]

Lavern Owiesays:

October 17, 2010 at 2:16 pm

im very happy to see this article. im a big fan of tapa. hope to hear more from you. thanks a lot.

here be dragonssays:

February 23, 2010 at 12:13 am

Great ideas! Thank you so much. I'm trying to plan this weekend and feeling a bit overwhelmed!

Ingredients of a Womansays:

January 28, 2010 at 6:34 pm

Love tapas! I had a tapas party years ago, it was a success. Beautiful photos you have! Alba

Suzie Stephenssays:

October 17, 2009 at 12:10 am

Tonight I am teaching a Tapas class to five your gentlemen who work for the home office of Walmart. This is a bachelor's party...the groom is taking his soon to be new bride to Spain and he wanted to learn how to cook traditional Spanish food...We are making Albondigas, paella, patatas bravas, a mushroom toast with garlic aioli. This is a hands on class and they have to do all the cooking and presentation...what a great idea for a civilized bachelor's party!


June 17, 2009 at 4:21 pm

We recently did a Spanish Tapas theme for our Coronado, CA summer Concerts in the Park series. Here's how it went:


February 3, 2009 at 4:53 pm

Patatas Bravas are the best! I did the potatoes recently but with a garlic Alioli sauce instead of bravas and it was equally as delicious. I think putting both sauces out might be nice too. I used this recipe: I also made a Moorish Zuchini salad with raisins, pine nuts, lemon, mint and goat cheese, lamb albondingas (meatballs) with an orange marmelade port wine dipping sauce, and the asapragus with jamon from the blog. yummm


January 23, 2009 at 9:00 pm

I adore Tapas. I recently had a blast at Jose Garces' restaurant, Amada, in Philly and fell in love with the food. I just need to find a fabu recipe for Patatas Bravas... that was to. die. for.

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