Choose a delectable selection of Spanish cheeses from your local cheese merchant or gourmet food shop. A few suggestions:
To accompany the cheeses, add bowls of dry-roasted walnuts, almonds, hazelnuts, and pine nuts; or freshly roasted chestnuts.
The Spanish like to have something a little sweet with their cheese. This includes fresh pear slices, apple slices, grapes, figs (dried are fine), dates, raisins, or dried apricots. Membrillo, a quince paste, is a popular choice. Drizzle honey on a mound of cheese like Mahon for a nice touch.
We can't forget the Iberian ham, Spain's version of prosciutto. Some say it's the better, less salty, version of a cured ham; you be the judge. The most expensive is the Jamon Iberico de Bellota, at $45 for 15 slices. Other varieties, like a good quality Serrano ham, aren't nearly as expensive but are lovely in flavor nonetheless.
Other savory accompaniments include olives such as manzanilla, empeltre, or my favorite, the little Arbequina olive. These can be plain or stuffed with almonds, anchovies, or red peppers. Fire-roasted red pepper slivers and a hearty, crusty loaf of bread round out the savory plate.
Wash this all down with sangria, red wine, sherry, cava (Spanish sparkling wine), or Spanish beer such as Estrella Damm.
Want more tapas recipes? Check out the delicious recipes for Spanish Red Onion and Orange Salad, Catalan Style Tortilla, Mushrooms with Garlic and Parsley Sauce, and Apple Plum Brandy Cake. Gather all your favorite people and enjoy the feast together. ¡Buen provecho!