Ask anyone what they think of gazpacho, and they’ll say it’s the chilled, more delicate cousin of boring old tomato soup. But it wasn’t always made that way: gazpacho originated in Andalusia, a region of Spain, probably way back in the Middle Ages. Back then it was made out of a combination of stale bread, oil, vinegar, and water all pounded together with a mortar and pestle. At that time, Spain was part of the Islamic world, so the name gazpacho comes from an Arabic word for “soaked bread.”Nowadays, the primary ingredients are tomatoes/tomato juice, bell peppers, and cucumber, which get transformed into soup via a blender (you can use a mortar and pestle if you want to be really traditional about it). We know you’re hungry, so let’s all celebrate National Gazpacho Day this December 6!
National Gazpacho Day Activities
1. Go to a Spanish restaurant
If you want to leave your gazpacho celebrations in the hands of experts, hop on Yelp and find the best Spanish restaurant near you. Obviously you’re here for the gazpacho, but order some sherry (if you’re of age!) and boqueronesfor extra points. Close your eyes and pretend you’re in España.
2. Make your own gazpacho
If you’d rather have a more hands-on celebration, you can make the soup at home. Head to the grocery store or farmers market to pick up the vegetables (remember tomake sure they’re fresh!) and pull the oil, vinegar, salt, and pepper out of your pantry. Grab the blender and you’re pretty much done! If you can, try to make the soup a few hours before you plan to eat it: we find that the flavors develop more after they’ve had some time to sit for a while.
3. Host a tapas party
Now we love gazpacho, but we wouldn’t say it makes for a satisfying meal on its own (unless you’re on a juice cleanse). Invite some friends over to celebrate National Gazpacho Day and round out the menu with some other delicious and easy Spanish classics like patatas bravas, gambas al ajillo, and tortilla española.
Why We Love National Gazpacho Day
A. It’s super easy, but feels exotic
Gazpacho isn’t something that many people would think of as an everyday recipe—it seems more suited for a special dinner party, or a really hot summer day. But it really couldn’t be simpler to make. Go out and buy some tomatoes, peppers, and cucumber. Everything else you need is in your pantry. Once you have the ingredients, it’sreally as simple as chopping them up and throwing them in a blender. That’s our kind of “cooking.”
B. There are tons of varieties
The traditional recipe is a tomato-based soup, but over the years people have come up with dozens of modifications. Throw some spicy peppers in if you want to kick it up a notch. If you’d prefer something green, omit the tomatoes and make a cucumber-avocado gazpacho. Craving soup that’s a bit sweeter? Watermelon gazpacho has become an incredibly popular variation.
C. It lets veggies shine
Gazpacho couldn’t be easier to make, but the most difficult part is actually finding the freshest, most flavorful vegetables possible. Since you aren’t employing any heat cooking techniques to coax any flavor out of them, you have to be sure that the veggies are already in peak condition. No sad, tasteless tomatoes allowed!