Tasting Table's Dinner Parties

Bring a taste of Spain home for you and three friends: This memorable springtime dinner stars a range of simple Spanish dishes and décor inspired by the Moorish influences of southern Spain. With unfussy yet delicious food and drink, this menu lets you focus on what's most important--your guests.

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With a small, four-person dinner, don't let patterns or color overwhelm the table. Instead, focus on a few standout pieces, like the bright Talavera Melamine serving line from our partner, Pottery Barn. To round out the table with some color, use smaller pieces like terra-cotta Cambria Tidbit Plates ($18 for 4) for dessert and appetizers. Consider the best qualities of your dishes--such as the striking yellows of the saffron allioli in the menu--and highlight these, using similarly hued serveware like these yellow dinner plates ($40 for 4). For an intimate evening gathering, candles and flowers are a must. Addison Glass Candle Holders ($14) add height to the table; select a mix of white hydrangeas and yellow roses for a striking floral arrangement.

Click the links below to explore the recipes in this menu:

White Gazpacho
Olive-and-Chorizo Salad
Shrimp a la Plancha over Saffron Allioli Toasts
Roasted Apricots with Wine, Thick Cream and Marcona Almonds


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Nod your head to a snappy, catchy new track from Spanish indie-pop artist Bebe while sipping a summery white-port cocktail, and dig into white gazpacho--aka ajo blanco, an Andalusian classic--to the tunes of flamenco guitar great Paco de Lucía.

By the time the roasted apricots are served, you’ll have heard an eclectic mix of new and classic Spanish and Latin artists, plus one Algerian, a nod to the historic relationship between North Africa and Spain. Click here for the full playlist, including favorites such as:

"Adiós" - Bebe
"Mama Tierra" - Macaco
"The Boxer" - Paulinha Pirez
"Volare" - Gipsy Kings

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The Cocktail: Port Punch Tawny port, a fortified red wine from the Douro region of Portugal, is most commonly served as a dessert wine, typically alongside blue cheese or chocolate. But lesser-known white port is typically served as an apéritif, where its nutty stone-fruit flavors shine.

For our Port Punch, we combined it with txakolí, an effervescent dry white wine from the Basque region of Spain, then made it an especially summery sipper by adding peach brandy, mint sprigs and slices of fresh peach.

White wines with a mineral quality are especially great with seafood such as shrimp a la plancha. Verdejo wines can sometimes be overly fruity, but a bottle made from old, ungrafted vines has lots of citrus and stone notes. If you’d like a richer, more complex wine, consider Fino sherries. For dessert, look to Spain’s neighbor, Madeira, which makes some of the finest sweet wines in the world.

2010 Ermita de Nieve Verdejo Rueda ($12)
Valdespino “Inocente” Single Vineyard Fino Jerez ($19 for 375 ml)
Rare Wine Company Historic Series Savannah Verdelho Madeira ($50)


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