Tapas Style Entertaining


It's the holiday season — that time of year we find ourselves gearing up to host an influx of guests from to turkey to tinsel. And while you might adore having guests flitting in  and out of your home, exchanging hugs and well wishes, constantly figuring out what to serve a varied crowd can be quite a different story. Bobby doesn't eat meat; Katie can't have gluten; Milicent prefers sophisticated dishes from the Middle East, and dear James still eats like a five-year-old. What to serve?

My holiday hosting go-to, always, is tapas style. Forget trying to congregate a thousand tastebud preferences into one dish — serve up variety that's prime for grazing is on point. For you tapas-in-training hosts, a few points of inspo for you here, care of some yummy time we spent with Julia Sullivan from our favorite, Henrietta Red



Menu Variety

Because you're such a lovely host and want to keep Bobby, Katie, Milicent, and James all happy, draft up a varied menu. Hot, cold. Meat, veggie. Sweet, savory. Small, substantial.  I love to serve between 7-10 tapas each evening, which let's me be a little more creative and daring with a few dishes, while also leaving room for constant crowd pleasers like olives, meats, and cheeses.



The best way to serve tapas is so they're self-serve. Design a beautiful buffet-style arrangement prime for grazing, or set up "stations" in different areas of your home—allowing guests to mill about and pick their favorites at their leisure. Make sure you have small stacks of plates or cocktail napkins at each spot so guests can hop into the menu whenever and wherever they like.





Tapas are equal parts taste and presentation. While you can set-up your food in buffets or stations, that doesn't mean to slop it in a bowl and call it a day. Think about how you can make the food display a part of the design — whether that's poising oysters on rock salt or using alternative serving boards. Place your food at different heights to create a better landscape.



In addition to your standards of red and white, keep the full ensemble interesting with curated cocktails in beautiful glassware. Even a staple G&T can feel special paired with the right vessel and garnish. And good host bonus: make your non-alcoholic choices just as delightful as your adult beverages.