You know how some women get all excited for Black Friday shopping?  My version of that is preparing for our annual Tipsy Toro Fiesta.

A few years ago we decided to introduce our friends to the food and wine of Spain.  So we bent the rules, and set the party time at 2pm, so they could come and hang out for the entire afternoon… and evening, just like we do in Spain.  Now the Tipsy Toro party has become a tradition, and a chance for us to show friends and potential clients why we’re so crazy about Spain.

It starts several weeks in advance, choosing the right date and planning the menu.  Then we start ordering food and doing any advance prep that we can.  I’ll admit, I can get a bit carried away.  We prepare around 20 different tapas, and 2 big paellas.  Thank goodness that so many tapas in Spain involve prepared foods, like jamon, chorizos, cheeses, and canned goodies of all kinds.  That makes it considerably easier — although I can’t resist cooking up all our favorites too — tortilla, herbed goat cheese stuffed peppers, meatballs, and the list goes on.

And since we’re now officially certified wineauxs, we also include a Spanish wine tasting.  It’s a great opportunity to try lots of different Spanish wines, and help convince our beer-and-spirits-lovin’ American friends that wine is waaaaayyyyyy cooler!  We have a rule — no wines over $15, so it’s not about price, it’s about quality.  And whoever brings the best bottle of wine, wins a bottle from us that you can’t buy in the U.S.  If you haven’t tried doing a simple, informal wine tasting, we highly recommend it.

Here’s a couple of quick pics — what are your favorite tapas?  Favorite Spanish wines?

Good friends in the kitchenPaella on the grill