Tapas are Spain’s luxurious take on the European tradition of serving appetizers with drinks. Tapping into the benefits of the Mediterranean diet and an inviting, sociable culture, homemade tapas are a dream to make — and enjoy!

Tapas nights can be as homey or sophisticated as you like. A huge choice of small plates, skewers and spreads let you put in as much or little time and effort into food prep as you want. And since there is no set “dinner is served” moment, guests are free to mingle, nibble, sip and chat to their hearts’ content.

Low-effort dishes of super-fast, easy marinated Hojiblanca, Gordal and Manzanilla olives, alongside some charcuterie or cheese, a few bottles of European wine, beer or a pitcher of sangria is a satisfying spread in itself. Have a few minutes to spare while waiting for everyone to arrive? These eye-catching skewers are simple to make and eat whether your guests are standing or sitting while they sip their drinks.

Tapenade, such as this one with Hojiblanca olives, is another popular and delightful kind of appetizer in Europe, a great way to gathering the ingredients and blitzing them together. Serve it on slices of bread, with or without additional toppings. (Tapenade can be used in so many ways and is so tasty, you might want to make a double batch while you’re at it.)

On the other end of the scale, for those who enjoy wowing their guests, crunchy, creamy Fried Gordal olives stuffed with goat cheese and pine nuts or cod croquettes and tapenade is worth the effort. They have a decadently rich mouth feel, yet their European ingredients and small serving sizes make them a nutritious and delicious option!

If taking a break from big sit-down meals appeals or scheduling formal get togethers is a pain, give one of Europe’s most satisfying traditions a try. Hold a tapas party, let the food, drinks and conversation flow — and see if it doesn’t become a favourite new tradition for your circle!

Enjoy, it’s from Europe!