How To Eat Gazpacho - the Spanish Cold Soup
Never ask a Spaniard about how to eat Gazpacho, unless you are ready to devote at least half of your day listening to the intricate details of how the recipe for Gazpacho was developed, the different variations, the good old days, the traditional meal times, so on and so forth. But, then you can’t blame them, for the evolution of Gazpacho does parallel the entire history of Spain and Spanish cuisine. But then, if you don’t have enough time or patience to sit through an entire lecture on Gazpacho but still want information on ways of eating Gazpacho, then read on…
Gazpacho, or the Spanish cold soup, is actually a salad dressed in a soup’s clothing. The recipe for preparing gazpacho was developed with the purpose of providing a scrumptious yet comfortable meal to the peasant class during the hot summer afternoons. The soup was traditionally made by flavoring meat or vegetable stock with olives, garlic, vinegar/lemon juice, and herbs (tomatoes were included in the Gazpacho recipe only after 12th century AD); bread was used as a thickening agent and the soup was served cold; the peasants could fill themselves for more backbreaking work with just 1 bowl of wholesome yet refreshing Gazpacho.
Today, every region in Spain has its own variety of Gazpacho, the most popular variety being the Gazpacho Andaluz or the Gazpacho from the Andalusia region of Southern Spain. However, when in Spain I would recommend, you must try tasting all the varieties for that’s the only way you will appreciate the true flavors and versatility of this dish.
Finding Gazpacho on menu is not difficult at all, it is served in almost all restaurants in Spain during the summer months. But then, in my opinion the best Gazpacho are the ones that you get to eat at the local households.
I found that there are 2 very distinct ways of serving Gazpacho, the peasant style and the urban style.
• At a countryside home, the Gazpacho is usually served in wooden bowls. The dish is thick, rich, and full of garlic, vinegar, and olive oil along with the refreshing flavors of farm tomatoes. The Gazpacho is usually eaten with just a piece of bread on the side.
• In urban households, the Gazpacho is similar in principle but then it is served with an assortment of garnishes including sliced veggies, boiled eggs, croutons, and such.
• At the restaurants or formal dining events, the Gazpacho may be eaten as a first course, salad, beverage, or entrée.
Well, whichever way you choose to eat the Gazpacho, I guarantee it will be the most refreshing liquid dish you will ever get to eat especially during the hot summer noons when the sun never seems to set.
Image credits: greenespace.blogspot.com, kosmix.com, wikipedia.org