The Spanish start their celebrations late in the evening and New Year's Eve or Noche Vieja is no exception. The night starts at home with a family dinner. In true Spanish fashion, this begins around 9:00 pm (at the earliest!). Appetizers are served, followed by multiple courses of home cooked food. After dinner comes dessert-- usually fresh fruit, nuts, and plenty of delicious, sweet turrón (Spanish candy bars).
In preparation for midnight, everyone fills their glass with cava and has a dozen grapes ready to go. What for, you ask? When the bells chime twelve times to count down to midnight, everyone starts popping grapes in their mouths - one for each ring of the bell. The goal is to finish your grapes by the time the bells stop chiming and you'll have good luck in the new year!
After plenty of hugs and kisses, and more cava and sweets, many people choose to spend the rest of the evening with their friends, dancing the night away at a discoteca (a nightclub) or concert. There is usually a cover charge to enter, and some places provide an open bar with plenty of cocktails and cava, Spanish sparkling wine.
That's how the Spanish do it, but whether or not you are in Spain, add a little Spanish flare to your New Year's Eve! You can give out grapes just before midnight, or pair your dinner with a Rioja wine or lemon sorbet to your sparkling wine flutes.
After all, there's still time to buy grapes at the market. While you're there, why not buy some Spanish chorizo, ham or ingredients to prepare some Spanish tapas, too? We've put together a list of Spanish food and drinks:
- Top Spanish Tapas: This list contains the most popular Spanish "tapas" or appetizers from Bravas Potatoes to Spanish Omelet.
- Cava, Spanish Sparkling Wine: Try this instead of French champagne-- it's the same style of wine, just with different grapes! Try mixing up some Spanish Sparkling Wine Lemon Sorbet for an extra-special drink for this evening's celebration.
- : A small scoop of this beautiful pink sorbet will make your sparkling wine even more festive.
- : This refreshingly tart and sweet sorbet combines well with chilled white wine or sparkling wine.
- Turron, Spanish Almond Candy: What Spanish holiday celebration would be complete without turrón? Buy several boxes and cut the "bricks" into bite-sized pieces to serve on small plates scattered around the party.
- FAQ: Where can I buy Spanish food?: Not sure where to buy turrón or ingredients for Spanish tapas? Buy Spanish food in gourmet and ethnic food stores, or order over the internet from any one of the sites on this list.