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How to Win Summer: Cold Soup

Want to win at summer? Try cold soup.

Soup is the quintessential comfort food for many people; yet, it’s often relegated to the fall and winter seasons as it is often hearty and warming. So what about summer soups? There is a long and varied history of cold soup in many parts of the world, including the United States, where in 1917, Chef Louis Diat of The Ritz Hotel in NYC, developed one of the most famous cold soups of all time, Vichyssoise (cold potato and leek soup).

Other cultures have long embraced the idea of cold soups, both sweet and savory, with the most famous being the Gazpacho from the Andalusian region of Spain.

Food historians agree that this soup was developed as an easy to eat/drink meal that the farm hands could easily consume in the fields and obtain some relief from the heat of the sun. Gazpacho isn’t the only Spanish cold soup, Ajoblanco, (made from almonds, bread, olive oil, and grapes) and Salmorejo (a smoother version of Gazpacho) are also regional favorites in Spain.

Gazpacho cold soup

Sweetened cold soups are also known, but mostly in Northern European countries. In Germany and Scandinavia, there is a rich history of eating cold fruit soups made from summer fruits. Cold soups are regularly consumed in Korea during their blisteringly hot summers, often served with buckwheat noodles.

Cold soups are seeing a bit of a rebirth on American menus, especially in the warmer regions.

Chefs are embracing the use of seasonal, hyper-fresh produce in order to offer their customers a unique dining experience. Since flavors are more muted when they’re cold, these soups need to be bright and seasoned boldly, and using the best of your seasonal bounty is the key. Chef Jeremy Fox of Rustic Canyon in Santa Monica, California has served a chilled soup to his diners. Try a chilled corn soup or even a mixed berry soup during the dog days of summer, or simply experiment and come up with a cold riff on a classic. Ernest Hemmingway’s mother even had a favorite cold cucumber soup she made to ward off the summer’s heat.

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