There are some words that break the language barrier. Ask and you will find that while not everyone can speak Spanish, they are able to tell you that “fiesta” means party. Spanish style events and parties have steadily gained popularity of late and there is a good reason for that. With all that colour, music, dancing and good food, who wouldn’t have an amazing time?
While attending a fiesta is great fun, hosting one can seem incredibly daunting, but it doesn’t have to be. These simple helpful hints will ensure you throw the perfect Spanish event that you can enjoy, just as much as each one of your guests.
While the excitement of this idea was you energized and motivated it’s time to lay the ground work.
- Create an objective: This seems strange but creating a goal or objective will make it much easier to make any snap decisions. It can be as simple as bringing together a tight knit group of friends for a party or as ambitious as a company gala event to boost morale amongst employees. Things like location, venue, entertainment and guest list will vary greatly depending on what you wish to achieve.
- Compile Guest list: Having already constructed an objective, this step should be much easier to achieve quickly. Is your fiesta more of a social event or one with a business current running through it? Think about whether you’d like create something intimate or all inclusive.
- Timing: Are you having a corporate lunch or a casual dinner? Timing can have a huge impact on how your fiesta will feel to your guests and whether you will be able to accommodate the other ideas you have. Think about whether you would prefer an intimate candle lit moment or a grand gala during the night. Would you like to talk business within business hours or perhaps your guests are only available during the day? In this case a light lunch might be more in order.
- Venue: At this point, having assembled your first draft of a guest list, you will have a better idea of how many people you intend to invite. This can make the difference from using your home, office or hiring out a venue. Having established timing will also affect your venue choice for example, some seasons would prove outdoor dining challenging, particularly at night time when it is typically colder.
- Furnishings: For family style dining, squeezing in as many chairs as possible around your dining table is usually acceptable but for a large event, tables of about 8 – 12 guests is ideal. If your intent is to encourage mingling, set up tall small tables instead where you can place tapas and where your guests can place their drinks. Placing fewer chairs than guests will encourage constant mingling, movement and banter.
Apart from the fragrance of your delicious food wafting through the door, classically vibrant red and yellow decorations are the first cue to your guests that you mean business.
- DIY decorations: You can make festive garlands, drink stirrers and confetti easily with crepe paper and this easy to follow tutorial (http://www.studiodiy.com/2013/04/22/how-to-repurpose-party-supplies/). Tissue paper pom-poms and luminarias are also great options (http://www.marthastewart.com/265163/pom-poms-and-luminarias-how-to)
- Flowers: For those of you who are less crafty, flowers speak volumes. Spain’s national flower is the Red carnation but the Valencia red rose and pomegranate flower can also be seen adorning window sills and the Spanish people. For something delicate or understated, a sprinkle of petals on table tops or a few well placed flowers in jars are the perfect touch. However, for something more formal and dramatic, full bouquets make great centre pieces and can be placed in vases made from hollowed pineapples with these simple instructions (http://lover.ly/read/flowers/centerpieces/diy-pineapple-vase-wedding-bridal-shower-centerpiece-decor). Don’t throw away those the pineapple centres, they will make a great addition to punch.
Sparkling conversation and mingling does not always come easily at a party. Give your guests a beat to step to and something to talk about with some authentic music and dancing. Entertainment is also a great way to break up the night if you intend to have presentations or speeches.
- Flamenco Music: This is a type of folk music derived from southern Spain and strongly associated with the Spanish culture. Live music sets an ambience which in incomparable so having a flamenco guitarist or band to play and sing can elevate a potentially ordinary event.
- Flamenco Dancer: While your guests will enjoy the music, clapping along in their seats, to truly ensure their engagement, a professional flamenco dancer is the perfect entertainment to accompany the music. At the very least, you’re guests have a shared memory and something to talk about around the table, both with people they know and those they may have just met on the night. For something more interactive, you have created the perfect moment to invite everyone onto the dance floor.
Food and Drink
Beautiful decorations and entertainment will delight your guests but have them leave hungry and your fiesta could be a great disaster. Many fruitful conversations are had over a meal and these mouth-watering options are sure to peak everyone’s interest.
- Sangria: All it takes to greet your guests with a traditional Spanish fiesta drink is some fruit, spices, win and brand. For a great alcoholic punch that packs a punch, just use our easy to follow recipe for Sangria found here. Why not incorporate the left over pineapple from your hollowed out vases in a non alcoholic version of this punch. It’s as easy as replacing the wine with a good quality maison or grape juice.
- Tapas: Either as appetisers or for more of a cocktail party, a tapas menu ensures not only variety, but also offers options to those of your guests that might have allergies or food restrictions. A good tapas menu gives variety in ingredients, texture and taste. The Food Adventura tapas menu offers all of this but if you are overwhelmed by choice, consider a few favourites:
- Jamon Croquetas – This creamy deep-fry croquettes recipe is guaranteed to make you feel like you are eating tapas in Spain
- Manchego Bites, typical Spanish cheese bread crumbled and lightly fried
- Montaditos, Slice of organic baguette topped with chorizo, jamon & salsa or marinated white anchovies & fennel salsa
- Garlic & Chili Prawns a la plancha
- Marinated olives
- Paella: A feast for your eyes as well as your stomach, Paella is a recognisable symbol of the Mediterranean peninsula. Classically with an abundance of chorizo, seafood and rice, this complex flavoured dish is both tasty and theatrical. If seafood or chorizo is not to your guests taste or you are looking for a vegetarian option, Food Adventura has five different amazing Paellas that will cater to your guests needs.
- Churros con chocolate: To conclude your fiesta on a sweet note, churros con chocolate is a popular and tasty option. These sugared Spanish style doughnuts are crispy and golden on the outside and soft and fluffy on the inside. Dip into a rich chocolate sauce for the ultimate indulgence. They can be eaten with cutlery for a more professional event but amongst friends, you can encourage your guests to throw caution to the wind and indulge in this tasty treat sans fork and knife.
By: Bruno Laborde