Tapas is synonymous with Spanish cuisine, and it's the perfect option if you’re looking for something warming and hearty when the weather in Spain turns colder. Tiny dishes of tapas pair perfectly with rich Spanish red wine or local beer make ideal bar snacks, but tapas dishes are also fun and easy to prepare at home. After all, there’s nothing better than sharing good food with friends and family, and tapas is an ideal sharing food.
With that in mind, here are some of our favourite winter tapas ideas, that not only taste delicious but are also relatively simple to prepare from the comfort of your Spanish home:
Stuffed Mushrooms (Champinones Rellenos)
We love stuffed mushrooms because not only do they taste delicious, they also look incredible served on a platter or tray, making them a great choice for entertaining. As an added bonus, they’re surprisingly simple to prepare. Just take button mushrooms, remove their core, and then then fill them olive oil, garlic, and any other bits and bobs you have lying around (Iberian ham works particularly well). Pop them under the grill until the oil bubbles and the mushrooms brown slightly, and you’re ready to eat!
Spanish croquettes are a tapas staple: they can taste good and then can taste just OK, but when they’re homemade they can taste really phenomenal! Blend mash potatoes with béchamel sauce and whatever else you have laying around the kitchen: ham, mushrooms, chicken and spinach are all commonly found in Spanish croquettes. It is often said that croquetas are simply what Spanish cooks make to use up their leftovers: bare that in mind and be creative, using whatever you have to hand. One of the best things about Spanish croquettes (besides how good they taste) is that they can be made well in advance and then just left to chillin the fridge until you’re ready to cook and serve: so if you’re serving tapas for dinner after a long day at work, this dish will make it easy for you. And you’ll be amazed at how good they can taste!
No matter what the time of year, you can’t have tapas without meatballs! They’re hearty and delicious, and ideal for warming and filling up on a cold night. Spanish meatballs are traditionally served in a clay dish, and just one or two meatballs are served per portion. Whilst tender, high-quality meat is important, it is the sauce that is poured on top of the meatballs that really makes this dish special. Whilst spicy chilli and tomato-based sauces are most common, our favourite is the rich and creamy almond sauce that is so often prepared by Spanish home cooks. Blend olive oil with white wine, garlic cloves, chicken stock, raw almonds and a pinch of saffron (which adds a mild orange colouring). Once tried, this dish is never forgotten.
Dates Wrapped in Bacon
The sweet taste of the dates paired with the salty savoury flavour of the bacon makes this simple tapas dish the perfect winter option. Make this tapas even easily to prepare by selecting pre-pitted dates, and add to the depth of the flavour by stuffing them with your favourite rich Spanish flavours. We recommend Manchego cheese and almonds for a festive taste that is just perfect for winter. This dish can easy be prepared in advance and simple grilled just before you’re ready to serve, making it ideal if you want to make maximum impact with minimum effort.
Pincho Moruno (pork skewers)
Love to eat but hate to cook? Then this is the tapas dish for you! Almost sinfully simplistic, these pork skewers taste amazing with very minimal effort. The meat is coated in rich arabian-inspired spices (moruno comes from the Spanish word for ‘Moorish’) and then left to marinade until it reaches its flavourful full potential. You then simply have to add it to the grill and then eat immediately when it’s hot and crispy.
Whilst everybody raves about how wonderful Spain is in the summer (and the beaches are full of tourists who agree), Spain in the winter is just as magical: it is the perfect time of year for quiet walks on the beach, celebrations, and getting to know your neighbours. If you’re thinking of moving to Spain, or buying a holiday house and making the country your second home, then why not get in touch. Our local property experts are excited to take your call, and help you to turn your dreams into a reality.