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El Toro Birthday Party

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El Toro Birthday Party

El Toro (San Fermin) Birthday Party

My younger son’s 3rd birthday fiesta fell into place at the last minute.  His request was a “cow and horse” party.  Doing a farm birthday party just didn’t seem to fit him and I didn’t want to repeat the cowboy theme which I had covered a few months prior with my older son’s Cowboy & Ninja Birthday Party.  Then, it hit me that his zodiac sign is Taurus – the Bull.  El ToroPerfecto.

To seal the deal, the week of the party I serendipitously found my husband’s red scarf from San Fermín, a distinctive element and souvenir of the famous “Running of the Bulls” in Pamplona, Spain.  The red handkerchief turned out to be a fun prop and accessory for my boys.  Horses came into play because they do, in fact, have a role in the traditional bullfighting performances.  So my son got his cow and horse party after all.

El Toro Birthday Party

Though this was for a 3-year old birthday party, it could easily be transformed into a guy party (for any age).  The manly bull as the central symbol pairs well with equally bold colors: red, white and black.  Though bullfighting is prevalent in many places around the world and the bull is a central cultural figure in many of those places, I focused on Spain, drawing from my time spent there years ago.  It goes without saying, however, that though throughout the party I include elements of bullfighting and the “Running of the Bulls”, my desire was to make it more of a symbolic representation with the bull as the central character.  And that bull could even be a peaceful bull, as in the acclaimed book (and one of my favorites): The Story of Ferdinand.

If the party had been larger and at home, I envisioned a spread of Spanish Tapas to feed the crowd.  As it was, we had our son’s party at the Portland Children’s Museum so we opted for pizza and Manchego cheese & crackers instead.  My focus became the El Toro dessert table.

El Toro Birthday Party

El Toro Birthday Party

I still vividly remember traveling through the Spanish countryside and seeing the huge black Toro billboards cut in the shape of the iconic bull silhouette.  Once I settled on this birthday party theme I knew that I had to incorporate this symbol into the party.  The invitation was the logical place to start.  Complemented with red, white and black craft paper from Michael’s, El Toro was the main image. The same craft paper paired with the bull emblem in miniature form made simple yet striking labels for the desserts.

El Toro Birthday Party

For drinks, agua and kid-friendly sangria (i.e. fruit punch or any other juice) were logical Spanish-inspired choices.

El Toro Birthday Party

El Toro Birthday Party

Fruit Punch

Fruit skewers {banderillas} were a simple representation of the colorful arrows that are used in one stage of the bullfighting performance.  The fruit kabobs were easy party food, pretty on display, and added a healthy component to the meal.  To fit the color scheme I stuck with strawberries and watermelon, two of the birthday boy’s favorite fruits.  *It goes without saying that the options for this element of the party are endless.  A dessert {strawberry shortcake} skewer made of some red & white variation of my pound cake pops was also in the running for my dessert spread.  And if you aren’t coordinating with a specific color scheme, anything skewered (sweet or savory) works.

El Toro Birthday Party

El Toro Birthday Party

Caballo {horse} cookies represented the horses in the party.  Though mine didn’t turn out perfectly, they were definitely a hit with the kids.  I followed this tutorial on Pinterest for the modified horse face shape and this tutorial on glazing cookies without using royal icing.

El Toro Birthday Party

El Toro Birthday Party

The El Toro cake was the dessert centerpiece.  I made an almond poppy seed cake with raspberry filling (to fit the red, white and black theme) for the bottom tier.  For the top tier I made a standard white cake with homemade caramel filling {think Spanish flan i.e. crème caramel}.  I ordered a Spanish (Andalusian) bull at Amazon.com, a figurine-turned-cake topper that became a favorite party toy (even though one of the horns nearly caught on fire and started to melt from the candle, but that’s another story!!)

El Toro Birthday Party

El Toro Birthday Party

I originally planned to serve churros at the party – a typical Spanish treat.  However, getting churros to the party, which really should be consumed right as they are made, became a logistical nightmare.  I opted to make churro cookies con chocolate instead.  They were easy to nibble on at the party.  And wrapped in cute little decorative bags from Blake’s Decorette Shop, they were perfect little dulces to go, too.

El Toro Birthday Party

Tres Leches Cake is an easy (and oh so ¡delicioso!) addition to any dessert table.  Though it is a stretch if following a strict menu from Spain, I couldn’t resist including it. I could justify it because it is a popular dessert in many countries throughout the Americas where bullfighting is also a central cultural tradition. Maraschino cherries on top (the traditional garnish for the cake) coincidentally fit the color theme of the party.  Skewering the cherries with red and black party {toothpick} swords was the icing on the cake…, or shall I say the cherry on top.

El Toro Birthday Party

To say ¡Muchas Gracias!, bubble party favors wrapped with red and white-striped washi tape (from Michael’s) were a simple solution, paired with festive decorative bags filled with leftover party treats.

El Toro Birthday Party

¡Feliz Cumpleaños! to my sweet, funny, kind and *stubborn* little boy! :))

El Toro Birthday Party

El Toro Birthday Party

El Toro Birthday Party

El Toro Birthday Party

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