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Pica Pica 101

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Pica Pica 101

Cristina Soriano

For me, food is the center of every gathering!

For me, food is the center of every gathering!

Those readers who have been to my home (for even the quickest of minutes) know that I am serious when I say, food – err pica pica – is always the answer. I know… I probably sound like an Italian grandmother. But it is TRUE – pica pica is always the answer! Especially when your question is how to ensure that your guests feel welcome and have a memorable time at your home.

If you ask me (and probably everyone of my guests) pica pica is a CRUCIAL component to a gathering. What is pica pica you ask? It is my family’s way of saying hors d’ouvres, an expression coming from the Spanish word picar which means to nibble, to peck – so essentially, finger food that you can easily peck at.

A pica pica paradise in Italy

A pica pica paradise in Italy

Pica pica is an essential component to a gathering, especially in New York City, because space is generally limited, and therefore most people do not host large dinner parties, but drinks instead.

We have all experienced the uncomfortable stomach pinch when you’re absolutely ravenous and know that if you don’t satisfy your hunger, you’ll fall drunk after a small sip of wine... But, nothing has been served and your too coy to ask the host. So, what better way to host a gathering than to offer even the smallest of nibbles?!

 Here are my five favorites:

Photo taken from: www.donostiafoods.com

Photo taken from: www.donostiafoods.com

Anchovy stuffed olives – to those anchovy-haters (I am on your side) these are absolutely delicious. The olives do not taste like anchovies at all, they have an added umami flavor that your guests will keep asking for more.

Photo taken from: www.filipinostore.de

Photo taken from: www.filipinostore.de

Cornick (or corn nuts) – I absolutely love the Boy Bawang brand (its Filipino, and you can order it on Amazon) and die for the garlic flavor. You can also buy them at your grocery, in the nut aisle.

Photo taken from: www.cafezupas.com

Photo taken from: www.cafezupas.com

Parmesan cheese chunks – you can never go wrong with some cheese, and chunks of Parmesan is an easy satisfier, especially if you do not want to put out an entire cheese board.

Photo taken from: www.hlyong.com

Photo taken from: www.hlyong.com

Shoe String Potato Chips (or just regular chips) – PikNik reminds me of my childhood where almost every evening before dinner, my parents would enjoy some pica pica. Potato chips may not be the healthiest of options, but it is so delicious and comforting.

Photo taken from: www.imgkid.com

Photo taken from: www.imgkid.com

Jamon Serrano and Picos – There is nothing better than good Spanish jamon, especially when you serve them with Spanish crackers, picos. You can buy some jamon from your local butcher or specialty grocery store.

I suggest filling small bowls of your chosen pica pica on a tray with some cocktail napkins and wine, setting it causally on your coffee table. I promise you - pica pica will be a prevalent addition to your entertaining routine. 

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