Vibrant Spain

Perfect Gathering Essentials

Essentials for the perfect midweek get-together

It’s the simple pleasures with loved ones that are deserving of a bottle or two to keep us warm during these chilly months. What better way to enjoy winter than to host a cosy, mid-week gathering? So, to inspire you to live a more Spanish life, use our guide for your next impromptu gathering.

It takes a little creativity, but with some kitchen smarts and a party-ready pantry, you too can throw an impromptu fiesta with 10 minutes notice.

A cheese plate is a great place to start; you don't even need to slice it. Simply plate it on a wooden board with a cheese knife, and you've got an easy appetiser. Since cheese is a crowd pleaser, it's always good idea to have a block in your fridge. Manchego, sharp cheddar and soft cheeses are versatile snacking options.

If you have a bit more time, why not make Higos con Miel y Queso (Figs and cheese). This sophisticated appetiser that will leave your guests' tastebuds buzzing. It's as simple as filling fresh figs with creamy goat cheese, drizzling it with honey and wrapping it up with Spanish ham.

To kick start the night, put a drink into someone's hand as soon as they walk through the door. The most effortless thing to offer is wine, so always have a bottle of Tempranillo or Reserva on hand. If you have the means to make a cocktail, do so – we'd recommend our Spanish Cava Negroni or Pear and Cinnamon Bellini.

Make a colourful impression

The heart of the carefree setting is the simplicity of its elements, but simple needn't be dull. Work with what you have, even if it's everyday flatware and add in colourful details.

A great way to do this is with a colourful runner or patterned tablecloth – it adds a lovely textual element that can really bring your setting to life and enhance the overall look of your table straight away. For extra flair, use flowers to bring in bright colours and sculptural shapes.

Don't forget about the presentation of your appetizers. Keep toothpicks and vibrant cocktail napkins at an arm's reach. If you love entertaining on a regular basis, invest in plenty of distinctively shaped boards, patterned platters and bowls for plating your tasty creations. Most importantly, have fun with it!

Set the scene

Get in the Spanish spirit and set the mood by playing some music. An hour before everyone arrives, play some music to set the mood. Slow and chill like Bossa nova for a relaxed atmosphere or light and energetic Latin pop or Reggaetón for a more upbeat atmosphere.

To ensure that the lighting is warm and glowy in your home, twinkling fairy lights is the way to go. But if you don't have any on hand, candles will do just the charm. On a table is a nice touch, but also having some lit in a darker area of your home is a great way to make people feel cosier.

Also, nothing says cosy than a knit blanket and ruffled pillows. Not only do they exude warmth but add that extra inviting touch.

Don't forget to relax and join in the fun. These nights are about being spontaneous, catching up and enjoying the simple things in life – friendship, food and great wine.

If any season reinforces the idea that staying in is the new going out, it's winter. So, what are you waiting for? Send out a mass text or Facebook invite and gather your friends for a spur of the moment evening together. If you keep a few of these key staples on hand all the time, you'll be ready anytime someone comes knocking.