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The History of Gazpacho

Recipes

This popular soup from the Andalusian area , (an autonomous community of Spain), mostly known now for being served cold, has many different influences from Greece and Rome, but also from the Moor's and Arab culture.

The original soup was blended stale bread, olive oil and garlic, with some liquid like water or vinegar that was pounded together in a mortar. Different vegetables and almonds that were available were also added.

This soup evolved into different varieties, the most popular around the world is a tomato based variety, served cold. It is often served heated in certain regions in Spain.

Now Gazpacho has become a generic term for a cold soup that has a vegetable or fruit base or both , that has similar spices to the traditional.

  Gazpacho

Gazpacho
This is a variation on the traditional with watermelon added

Where does the word Gazpacho come from?

No one really knows but the speculations are fun to read about. One version says the word comes from a Greek word for a collection box in church where folks would put different shaped coins, even bread.

Others say the word has many Arab sounds in it. Spain was controlled by the Ottomans between the the 8th and the 15th century.

Some say the word comes from a Hebrew word Gazaz which means break into little pieces.

Janet Mendel feels that it probably comes from the old Latin word "Caspa" meaning fragments or little pieces.

All these ideas at least give us an idea about the technique and purpose of this recipe.

No one I have read has anything really conclusive. I found a good discussion with lots of interesting background on the Etymology of Gazpacho here.

Where did Gazpacho originate?

While it was common for Roman soldiers to carry dried bread, garlic and vinegar to make the basics of this early soup, it was popularized in the Andalusian area of Spain.

In the 8th century it was overtaken by the Ottomans and the Moors from Morocco just across the mediterranean sea came over with a soup they called Ajo Blanco.

 

Christopher Columbus probably took this soup with him on his voyages from Spain.

When he brought back tomatoes, cucumbers and different peppers that is when the soup evolved to it's present state.

Now all kinds of things are added such as watermelon and Cantaloupe.

 

 

Andalusia was a large farming area for olives and almonds, citrus , vineyards and cork trees. Centuries ago field workers were give a food ration of bread and oil. The stale bread with added garlic, oil and any vegetables pounded in a mortar with added water makes a thirst quenching soup, in the blazing heat, and was easily assimilated to nourish the body.

 

A Spanish refrain says, De gazpacho no hay empacho-You can never get too much of a good thing or too much Gazpacho, It is great for any meal or snack and the left over can be used as a sauce for pasta.

This is a picture of ladies in
making Gazpacho in a traditional large wooden bowl called a Dornillo.

Ladies would make this soup in the fields and it would make a perfect soup to quench the thirst of the field workers.

This dish they are making is actually for a hot Gazpacho. The tomatoes are being skinned first.

Courtesy of La Vida Alcalaína

Basic Variations of Gazpacho

Ajoblanco

(literally means white garlic )

Popular in the Granada and Malaga region

This is a white soup that has bread, almonds, sometimes grapes, olive oil and of course bread and garlic.

Go here for a recipe for
Ajoblanco

Salmorejo

This is popular in the Córdoba area of Spain, and is smoother and richer.

Salmorejo is a cream consisting of tomato and bread, originating in Córdoba (Andalusia) in the south of Spain. It is made from tomatoes, bread, oil, garlic and vinegar. Normally, the tomatoes are skinned and then puréed with the other ingredients. The soup is served cold and garnished with diced Spanish Serrano ham and diced hard-boiled eggs.

Go here for a recipe for Salmorejo

Tomato Gazpacho



This is popular in the Seville area of Spain. This is the traditional style that is most popular version outside of Spain.

Go here for a recipe for
Seville Gaspacho

Warm Gazpacho


Warmed Gazpacho is very popular in Spain.
Here is a recipe

 

Go here for more recipes for Gazpacho

Nutritional Value for Gazpacho

The tomato, cucumber variety of Gazpacho is probably the most nutritious, being that it is mostly fresh vegetables. It is sometimes called a Liquid Salad.

Ajoblanco would be very high in calories, due to the bread, olive oil and almonds.

If you search for nutritional breakdowns for Gazpacho you will find varying amounts.
You can easily make this a high fiber and low fat meal, so I feel that this soup has a great future.
Cold soups are becoming more and more popular.

 

   

Links

Gazules

La Vida Alcalaína

about Salmorejo

 

 

   

 

 


 

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Last updated July 25, 2013

 

 

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