SPANISH MEDITERRANEAN DIET - FOODS, RECIPES & BENEFITS
A way of eating based on traditional foods
Traditional Spanish cold soups have their origin in the Andalusian cuisine, especially from Córdoba and Seville, and cover a wide number of variations on the same theme that makes sense in hot climates. A family of dishes rather than a single variety, the term"gazpacho" is commonly used to refer to any vegetable - or fruit - based cold soup.
Healthy ingredients such as vegetables and the extra virgin olive oil - the king of the Mediterranean diet - are staples of this cold soups, although its roots lie in the stale bread, olive oil, garlic and vinegar mix made by the Romans, centuries ago.
Variations of this family of soups are known by several different names depending on the ingredients and the zone of origin:
Gazpacho generally has the base ingredients of water, olive oil, vinegar, bread and any raw vegetables available. It often has added tomato these days, although gazpacho was made long before tomatoes were brought to Spain.
Ajo Blanco refers to the version which came from North Africa. This contains almonds and garlic, which give a pale color, and is often served with fruit such as grapes or melon. It is a popular side dish for baked potatoes in Granada and was originally the staple food of peasants working in the fields. Originating from a time before tomatoes were brought to Spain, the garlic complements the almonds and fruit to produce a nutritious, healthy, hydrating and cheap meal.
Salmorejo contains tomatoes and more bread than generic gazpacho, so it is thicker and creamier as well as a different color. It looks much like a creamy tomato soup, but with a different flavor due to the Spanish ham and egg used for garnish. The healthy antioxidant ingredients in this soup include Spanish extra virgin olive oil and garlic.
Several red gazpacho versions use red fruit as well as tomatoes. White gazpacho similar to ajo blanco also uses dried fruit. Green gazpacho typically has added spices. Every area has its own healthy, tasty variant, many called gazpacho, others not. Arranque roteño from Cadiz is a version which uses less water; this looks more like a cream or dip than a soup. Cojondongo from Extremadura is a thick gazpacho which in addition to the usual base ingredients, also contains chopped onions, tomatoes, and peppers. La Mancha has taken the normally cold gazpacho and made it into a hot meat stew - Gazpacho manchego - that has game meat added to the mix and may also include mushrooms.
From the humble beginnings of a Roman soldier’s marching meal to an entire cuisine, no "gazpacho" is the same. They are, however, all simple to make, tasty, nutritious and healthy. In any case, the secret of an excellent and incomparable dish of cold soup lies in the use of exceptional ingredients that never fail, such as seasonal vegetables, extra virgin olive oil, iberian acorn-fed ham (jamón ibérico de bellota), smoked paprika (Pimentón de la Vera), or sherry vinegar. We guarantee you will triumph with them!