National Gazpacho Day

The history and taste of this soup have evolved throughout the centuries as it was adapted into different cultures with various ingredients and styles of preparation. Gazpacho has become an integral part of the Spanish and Portuguese cuisine and is also popular in the US. The origin of this soup can be traced back to the Greco-roman times. A mixture of bread, garlic, salt, olive oil and vinegar were taken by the Roman soldiers when they travelled along the empire roads. The Romans introduced Gazpacho to Spain and from there Gazpacho went on a world tour. 

Though Gazpacho is now popularly known as a variant of the bland tomato soup, it was not just a better tomato soup back then. The dish had progressed immensely from the plain peasant-style combination of day-old bread, garlic and broth to its present form.

When the dish was first introduced to Spain from Rome, the ingredients employed were bread, olive oil, water, vinegar and garlic. It was incorporated into Andalusian cuisine especially in Seville, Granada, Córdoba and the Al-Andalus regions. Every Andalusian region had a variant of Gazpacho such that one could even identify your place by looking at your Gazpacho. 

Gazpacho was a staple in Andalusia among the day labourers who worked in the vineyards, forests fields and plantations. They were provided with bread and oil for their food ration. The peasant-style Gazpacho was made by soaking bread in water followed by the addition of oil, garlic, and salt for flavour. Pepper, cucumbers and whatever was freshly available during the season was also included in the soup. Mortar was used to grind this mixture in a wooden bowl. This recipe provided nourishment quenched thirst and had a cooling effect on the body, sustaining the day labourers as they worked under the hot sun.

It was only in the 19th century the tomatoes were used as a base for the red Gazpacho. This version of the soup became popular worldwide. Modern-day recipes of Gazpacho involve ingredients like diced fruits, balsamic vinegar, vegetables, hard-boiled eggs, bacon, ham, or croutons. Gazpacho has undergone a lot of modifications from the time it was introduced in Andalusia in terms of texture, colour, consistency  and garnishes.

Gazpacho is a dish that was adapted and modified according to the regional tastes due to its simplicity. The secret to a good gazpacho lies in the proportions of its ingredients. To balance flavours the soup has to be monitored frequently. Finding the freshest vegetables available is the only requirement to make a top-notch Gazpacho.
A common saying in Spain is, “De gazpacho no hay empacho” which means there is never too much Gazpacho. Gazpacho can substitute any meal or snack, any time of the day and is a travel-friendly dish. Leftover Gazpacho can be also utilised as dressing or sauce for salads and pasta. The variability and simplicity of this dish have carried its name and history to the present day cuisine. 

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