Friday, 11 January 2008

Chilled Soups

Ice cold soups are really refreshing and are great as starters or summer snacks. I have hunted out 3 of the best for you to chill out with! Click here for the recipes and ingredients.

Gazpacho

Gazpacho comes from Andalucía in Spain and people use it to cool themselves down during the long, arid summers. Gazpacho is a hearty and pungent soup that has gained fame throughout the world for its amazing thirst-quenching quality. Often described as a liquid salad, Gazpacho descends from ancient Roman concoction based on a combination of stale bread, garlic, olive oil, salt, and vinegar. As Romans laboured to build roads and aqueducts across Spain in the scorching heat, this soup replenished them with the necessary salt and vitamins lost through physical exertion. Gazpacho was traditionally adopted by workers in the fields of vineyards, olive plantations, citrus groves, wheat fields, or cork farms. Later, shepherds and farmers added vegetables to make it more hearty and satisfying.

Because tomatoes and bell peppers were not indigenous to Spain, these ingredients were not added to the soup until after Spain's discovery of the New World. Since that time, Gazpacho has remained relatively unchanged - an unpretentious soup designed to quench the thirst evoked by the unrelenting Spanish sun.

It’s served ice cold and the ideal wines to go with Gazpacho are Tour Chapoux and the red Brissonet. The Brissonet really is a must with tomato based dishes as it brings out that lovely ripe flavour. It’s a powerful fruity wine that can handle the Balsamic Vinegar. Tour Chapoux is made predominantly with the Sauvignon Blanc grape and it shouts of summer fruits and flowers on the nose. It’s flavours are very expressive with those exotic fruits coming through and it has a long freshness in its taste.

Borscht

Borscht is a specialty of Eastern European/Russian cuisine, primarily of the peasant folk as beetroot was easy to grow. The soup dates at least to Medieval times. Ukranians count it as their national soup and firmly believe that it originated there. There are more kinds of Borscht in the Ukraine than anywhere else; these include the versions of Kiev, Poltava, Odessa, and L'vov. Borscht is also counted as a specialty of Ashkenazi Jewish cookery, can be made with a wide range of vegetables. However, the essential ingredient is beetroot, giving the soup its characteristic red colour.

To serve stir in some sour cream into the soup (it becomes a vivid pink!!) or just dollop sour cream onto individual portions. Sometimes a hot boiled potato is placed into the cold soup too. Either way, sprinkle with chives and dill. As for a wine Chateau Laures would be perfect as it will bring out the sweetness in the beetroot. Chateau Laures is an aromatic wine with intense fruit and honey flavours. Sainte Marie is another good choice as it will compliment the Borscht’s lemony after taste. Sainte Marie has great aromas of lemon, lime and grapefruit, with hints of elderflower and is perfectly balanced on the palate offering a well structured and a long lasting, complex finish.

Vichyssoise

Most consider vichyssoise to be a classic cold French soup although some believe it was invented in New York City at the Ritz Carlton. Regardless, this potato and leek soup remains a true classic with simply wonderful flavour.

Just before serving, sprinkle chives over the top. Wines to accompany Vichysoisse should be French! Chateau Au Berton is a very honest, good value Bordeaux that comes from a good 1998 vintage. It has been allowed to age and it produces a nicely balanced, clean, fruity flavour with a silky finish. Chateau Au Berton is a red wine that you can also serve chilled if you so prefer as it is low in tannin.

Domaine de Ricaud Bordeaux Clairet is a beautiful presentation of a Clairet produced in Bordeaux and with its bright intense pink colour it is full on the nose with generous red fruits aromas including strawberries and redcurrant. In the mouth it is fresh with a medium structure, smooth tannins with a lot of fruit and a very slight hint of sweetness. This will accompany the sweetness in the leeks to perfection.

Images Courtesy of www.flickr.com

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