If you enjoy taking long hot holidays in Spain then you might be forgiven for thinking that tapas is a summer food: but in reality, Spaniards enjoy eating tapas all year round. It is said that there are more bars per square foot in Spain than in any other country, and the vast majority of these bars serve tapas and other nibbles, alongside beer and wine. Tapas dishes are little bites of heaven that are at the heart of Spanish cuisine, and there is a tapas dish for every season. With autumn in full swing, and winter fast approaching, here are the best cold-weather tapas dishes that you can whip up at home, or try in your favourite bar, this season:
1. Champiñones rellenos (stuffed mushrooms)
Mushrooms are a vegetable that is full of autumnal charm, though they are popular year-round in Spain. Making stuffed mushrooms has the benefit of being simple, uses affordable and plentiful ingredients, and is warming on a cold day. Simply remove the tops from button mushroms and fill the space with olive oil, garlic, and locally sourced ham. Grill and then eat whilst they’re still warm.
2. Albóndigas (meatballs)
Hearty meatballs are a classic tapas staple, particularly during the winter months, and each version is unique to the tapas chef that created them. Simple cook one or two hand rolled meatballs per person, then smother in sauce: tomato sauce and almond sauce are both particularly popular options.
3. Morcilla de Burgos (Burgos blood pudding)
Blood pudding might not be the most appetizing dish on this list to many people, but if you’re a fan of this dark and rich sausage then serving it sliced simply on rustic bread is a wonderful savoury winter tapas that can be prepared in mere seconds.
4. Dates wrapped in bacon
Dates wrapped in bacon are a quintessentially Spanish dish that is popular the world over, paring sweet and salty flavours in a dish people simply can’t get enough of. No recipe is needed here: take a date, wrap in bacon, and then grill. You can serve this dish hot or cold, making it ideal for preparing in advance.
5. Croquetas (Spanish croquettes)
One of the simplest and yet most popular tapas in Spain, no matter the time of the year, is a classic potato croquette. These little tubes of heaven are constructed by mixing potatoes with bechamel sauce and any leftover items in the fridge (think chicken or ham, mushrooms or spinach). Roll, coat in breadcrumbs, and then fry: you’ll never look at your leftovers the same again!
6. Paprika Mashed Potatoes
Another incredibly popular potato dish are paprika mashed potatoes, which do exactly what it says on the tin! Simply boil and mash potatoes with a healthy dollop of butter and a generous sprinkle of paprika; rich and creamy, and perfect for serving alongside your favourite meat-based tapas dishes.
7. Pincho moruno (seasoned pork skewer)
Although a Spanish tapas dish, the pincho moruno is inspired by ‘moorish’ flavours and spices that take on an Arab influence. Pork cubes are marinades in flavourful spice blends, then thread onto a skewer and grilled: serve the dish hot, and let the subtle spices warm you up on a cold day. Pair with a local beer for a classic autumnal taste of Spain.
8. Callos a la Madrileña (Madrid style tripe)
Much like the blood pudding, tripe is another dish that many people will immediately refuse to indulge in, but just one bite of this rich and spicy stew might be enough to change your mind. Cooked with chickpeas in a spicy tomato sauce, this tripe dish is served in a small dish with a piece of rustic bread, to ensure that none of the delicious sauce goes to waste.
9. Chorizo a la sidra (chorizo cooked in cider)
There is nothing better than rich and spicy Spanish chorizo, but this dish pairs those wonderful flavours with local Spanish cider, which cooks and tenderises the meat. The finished dish is rich, deep and wholesome: a classic blend of savoury flavours that is typical of the region of Asturias.
10. Buñuelos de bacalao (salt cod fritters)
Finally, the only fish dish on this list is salt cod fritters: unsurprising given that salt cod is the most popular fish in Spain. These simple fritters are simply made by frying battered cod, and they are often served alongside a generous dollop of homemade garlic mayonnaise and a local beer: simple but effective, no nonsense food.
Are you thinking of moving to Spain? Perhaps you like the idea of submerging yourself into the traditional Spanish lifestyle and cooking Spanish recipes every day? Whatever your dream, we can help. Why not get in touch with our team of local property experts today, to find out more about how we can help you.