How to celebrate día de gazpacho – the traditional Spanish soup that is taken cold. The styles vary slightly from region to region, but they all begin with the most basic of ingredients.
Today is a day of celebration for gazpacho lovers. It is día de gazpacho. But what exactly is it? Is is a soup, a salad, or a drink?
The two main ingredients are tomatoes and green peppers. These were originally brought to Spain in the 16th century from the New World. However, olive oil, garlic, vinegar, water, cucumbers, and onions are added. Some areas in Spain also add other vegetables and almonds. The soup is not cooked and is sometimes thickened using stale breadcrumbs.
Gazpacho is perfect in the summer and is also healthy. Like most of the Mediterranean diet, it is filled with vitamins and minerals.
Traditional Spanish gazpacho is served by the glass, just like juice.
Growing up in Scotland, there was nothing homemade chicken soup or Irn Bru wouldn´t fix. Gazpacho is said to have the same qualities – summer flu, too much alcohol the night before – you name it, gazpacho can make it better.
There are many ways to eat (or drink) this fabulous dish, however, the temperature is the most important thing. Personally, and this may be sacrilege (the same as putting ice in whisky), but if I am drinking gazpacho, I like it in a tall glass with ice. However, I do prefer it in a bowl, like a soup with a side dish of finely chopped tomatoes, cucumbers and croutons and sometimes chopped red onion and green peppers.
Gazpacho fusion, or confusion?
Now there are many different types and ways you can experiment. Mine was an epic failure when I tried watermelon (sandia).
Filled with enthusiasm and waiting for my daughter´s reaction – all she said was “it just tastes like gazpacho with watermelon”. Well, that WAS what I was aiming for, but she didn´t see the point. “Why not just have gazpacho?” she said.
Another epic fail was when I made luxury cream of tomato soup. (I love making soups of all kinds as anyone who knows me will testify). It is impossible for me to make soup for just one or two servings – so I always have plenty for everyone. Including my old Spanish neighbour. She loved my soups!
Anyway, she thanked me for the soup, and the next day remarked on how unusual and tasty my gazpacho was! Go figure!
Make your own
Anyway, you will find gazpacho almost everywhere now, in bars and restaurants as well as in the supermarkets. On a visit to your local supermarket, you will see string bags filled with tomatoes, and other filled with small green Spanish cucumbers (pepino). This is what the Spaniards use to make their own versions. Why not give it a try?