I just finished making gazpacho. PJ and I are having a small dinner party tomorrow night, and our first course will be the gazpacho, which of course needs to be thoroughly chilled. I generally love soups, and Gazpacho is my favorite kind of soup. While PJ isn’t as much of a soup fan as I am, we nevertheless agree on our love for gazpacho — one of the many commonalities that makes our relationship work as well as it does. (Never underestimate the power of a good soup to keep your man happy!)

Because of my deep fondness for chilled tomato soup, I often order it whenever I have the opportunity. As one website points out, “There are about as many gazpacho recipes as there are Spanish cooks.” One of the aspects of traveling that I enjoy is sampling as many of those recipes as I can.

The latest addition to my (metaphorical) gazpacho journal occurred while we were in Paris. On our first day there, we stopped for lunch in a little cafe called the Cafe-philo des Phares on the Place de la Bastille. I immediately noticed my favorite appetizer on their menu and ordered it. I should note that my gazpacho tasting has become a kind of hobby — kind of like people who are wine connoisseurs. I want to experience the different varieties available to me but I also want to evaluate and rank them.

The best gazpacho I’ve ever had was in Michigan while PJ lived there for a year. He took me to Kruse and Muer, and we quickly fell in love with their soup. (I also had a great shepherd’s pie at a different restaurant in Michigan, but that’s a different blog entry!) I prefer a balance between the tomato broth and the chunky vegetables. The Michigan gazpacho was perfectly balanced in its quotient of broth to tomatoes to cucumber. (The cucumber is key for me.) I also like a bit of tanginess, which I now know if achieved by using the right amount of lemon juice.