Are you dreaming of taking an evening stroll with locals in Florence Italy? Maybe a leisurely cruise on the Seine is on the top of your bucket list. Or perhaps eating from tapas platters in Spanish eateries while drinking local wine is more your thing.
Of course, the best way to experience the world is to travel. But for those who can’t travel or are in between journeys, you can bring the world to you. It’s been awhile since we’ve shared our world appetizers. But here is another selection of tapas platters to inspire your travel at home, even when you can’t physically explore the road.
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Discover the traditional Spanish tapas platters
Imagine sipping Spanish wine on your patio, watching the sunset. You stream some salsa music for ambiance. Who knows? You might even be inspired to dance.
If you can’t visit Barcelona, you can create this experience in your very own home.
To create this platter we cooked up some simple patatas bravas. These are basically mini roasted potatoes.
You can do this too. Add onions, canned fire roasted tomatoes, smoked paprika, and hot sauce. Then voila! You’ve created a spicy number to go with your salsa music!
In addition, we created tiny tapas on skewers like you would get in an actual tapas bar. Since we already had cocktail skewers we threaded them with cooked mushrooms, cocktail onions, cherry tomatoes, jalapeno stuffed olives, and cheese cubes. But you can use chorizo, Serrano ham, or Manchego cheese, whatever you prefer.
Then we made a shrimp ceviche to serve with tortilla chips. You don’t have to use shrimp. You can make a fish ceviche instead.
However, if you don’t have the time for cooking, you can still enjoy this tapas experience. Just head to your local market for some Spanish cheeses, meats, and grapes. It’s as simple as that.
Create tasty European tapas platters & grab your travel partner
Travel through Europe in just one night!
What if you could go on tour of Europe starting your trip in historic pubs of Great Britain? Imagine taking an overnight train through the Swiss Alps from France to Italy. Picture cruising through the sunny Greek Isles.
To explore delectable tapas recipes from these countries, this European tapas platter fits the mold. We originally created this for the Monday Night Travel episode when Rick Steves explores Europe right after the pandemic.
First we traveled to the pubs of Great Britain for some hearty clam chowder. We made ours from a recipe in the Unofficial Harry Potter Cookbook, but you can buy some from a local restaurant, or use canned in a pinch.
Then we traveled across the Channel to France. Here we feasted on grapes and berries, along with Brie cheese, and some multi grain crackers. Of course, a baguette would have been more fitting. But the point is to create magnificent date nights on a budget, and crackers is what we had available.
After that it was off to Italy. You can almost hear the delightful serenade of an accordion.
For our Italian antipasto we created a simple casserole of artichoke hearts with tomatoes and parmesan. You could easily make this with mozzarella. However we were trying to cut back on our cheese consumption.
Last we headed to the cruise ports of Greece. This time we improvised our own dish. If you’ve read any of our previous appetizer posts, you know we bake a lot of stuffed mushrooms. Consequently, we made them again, but now filled them with feta and kalamata olives. Yum!
Now it’s time to eat! Grab your travel partner, open some wine, and stream your favorite travel show.
Pair Asian tapas platters with an Anime marathon
For fans of Asian cultures, try some of these appetizers. My youngest child loves anime so I actually bought Cook Anime which I have used to created several dishes in the past. However, these are more basic.
If you are anime fans, you can serve this for an anime marathon with friends. On the other hand, if you watch travel shows on date night, this works well for that too. We ate this while watching Rick Stein’s quest for the best Asian seafood markets.
We made salmon sashimi from sushi grade salmon we had sent from friends in Alaska. Then we made sushi rolls with cucumber, salmon, and ginger. We’ve had a hard time finding wasabi paste lately at our local stores. However, if you eat a lot of Asian food and like spicy, you can order wasabi from Amazon. This is also where we got our seaweed wrappers.
In addition we cooked up some fried dumplings and some Vietnamese rice paper rolls stuffed with cabbage.
You can also find rice paper on Amazon. We have been finding this the best way to get unique ingredients due to time constraints. However, if time is not an issue, search out the nearest Asian market. Shop there as part of your date. You will definitely feel like you entered another continent.
You certainly don’t need to make these from scratch. Many Asian restaurants will have a wide variety of appetizers to choose from. Or if you want more of a selection of recipes read my Asian Appetizer post.
On the other hand, if you are like us, you may want to play some Asian music in the background while cooking. Then crack open a bottle of saki or Japanese beer to accompany your feast.
Enjoy a waltz with tapas from Vienna
Classical music lovers will love this Austrian tapas platter. Stimulate your taste buds with briny pickles and lemony schnitzel while contemplating the strains of Mozart and Strauss. Pair the selection with a stein of beer or an Austrian wine, and float away to Vienna.
This was one of the easiest platters yet. A plate of pickles straight from the jar. A cucumber salad made with produce already in our fridge. A bowl of cherries for dessert.
The only thing we had to cook was the schnitzel. Of course, we improvised. Using chicken instead of veal, I breaded it with almond flour and egg. Then I fried it in some butter and served it with lemon. Delish!
Eclectic Tapas Platter
When my son was visiting, he joined us for Monday Night Travel and a round of Rick Steves bingo. Needless to say, I needed say, I needed to create a platter with plenty of food.
We has Spanish sardines with tomato sauce. Then we made some escargot stuffed mushrooms drowned in garlic butter from France. We grilled some vegetable kabobs from the middle east. Savored smoked herring from Norway. Then finished up with bruscetta from Italy.
The best part? With such a wide ethnic diversity where we live most items can easily be found in the store. The seafood was in the canned section of our local grocery store. The kabobs and bruscetta we made from scratch with local vegetables. But you can probably get them from a store too.
Pair Argentina tapas platters with a wine tasting
It had been a while since we had done any virtual travel through Airbnb. Since I started a new blog about wine at wackywinegirl.com, we thought it would be fun to participate in an Argentinian wine experience. Airbnb virtual experiences make unique home date nights. They have tons of options to choose from. Plus, they are live so you can ask questions and interact with the host.
Of course, I needed to search for Spanish tapas from Argentina. I discovered several unique versions of deviled eggs. We made one that had tuna in it.
We mixed up some Spanish olives, cocktail onions, and sliced pork, instead of beef.
Then we improvised a chimichurri sauce to go with a baguette. We added grapes for fresh produce, and we were all set.
California tapas platters for summer
Time for movie night. We watched Wine Country which stars a bunch of the ladies for SNL. Can you think of a better tapas platter than one with a California theme?
Smoked gouda and cheddar with juicy grapes.
Blueberry crusted goat cheese with strawberries and cherries.
A selection of fresh veggies paired with a seasoned lemon olive oil.
Stuffed mushrooms, of course!
And a baguette and brie. I was a bit skeptical about the individually wrapped brie. However, it tasted better than I thought and the individual wrappers made it convenient.
You don’t have to save this platter for date night. These light appetizers are also great for summer BBQs or evening happy hours on the patio with friends.
Swiss tapas for Monday Night Travel
You can’t do Swiss without the cheese. While we did leave out traditional fondue and raclette, we did go for mushrooms with melted Swiss cheese as well as some sliced Swiss with grapes.
To balance out the calories from the cheese, we had a lightly breaded fish with lemon and shoestring potatoes cooked on the convection setting. Swiss usually grate the potatoes, but I thought using my spiralizer was easier.
Vive la France, mix up some French snacks
Feel like you are in a French cafe with these French snacks. These take some preparation, so this platter is best for a romantic dinner. Set the mood with some Paris cafe music, and crack open a bottle of French wine.
Then get to work. We felt ambitious so we made crepes with chicken and mushroom filling.
Do crepes seem too complicated? Basically they are thin pancakes without baking powder, so they are flat not fluffy.
We made a basic cream sauce to which we added pre-cooked rotisserie chicken and sauteed mushrooms. You can make a cheat version using cream of mushroom or cream of chicken soup and small tortillas.
In addition, we baked mini tomato tarts and some mini quiches.
If you are short on time you can get some frozen mini quiches in the frozen appetizer section of the grocery store.
For a really romantic dinner, light some candles when you eat.
Scandinavian food from Finland and Russia
This was our most recent creation. Mini potatoes roasted in butter with pickled herring for Scandinavian food. Then we made some stuffed cabbage baked in tomato sauce.
Want to know a secret? We totally cheated! We had company last week and had left over ground beef from our taco bar. I know it had taco seasoning, but who cares?
Plus, I thought I was out of sour cream, so that was left out of the sauce. Of course, I found it two days later when our refrigerator emptied out a bit. Oh well!
Let’s call it Scandinavian fusion!
Then for dessert we used leftover crepes from our French meal to create Russian blinis. We stuffed them with cherry preserves mixed with ricotta cheese. After that, we heated them briefly in the oven and sprinkled powdered sugar on them Yum!
I hope this inspired you to try some platters on your own. I would love to hear about your creations and what date night activities you paired with them. Just comment below.
Donna Emperador is a travel and food blogger and copywriter. Donna believes in learning about different cultures while sharing good food and cocktails. She has lived in South Florida for over 20 years and enjoys spending time exploring the road to find unique places to share with readers. She can be found on Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest.