An old Spanish proverb says "Of soup and love, the first is best." It's an obvious overstatement, but it is true that soup can be alluring. And few things make a meal more elegant than a soup course -- especially if the soup is served in style! Say in a crystal or silver cup, a hollowed out squash (or other vegetable), or a bowl-shaped loaf of bread.
I won't soon forget the cream-of-cilantro soup I had at a Mexican restaurant in San Francisco a few years ago. It was served in a brilliant, blue bowl designed to set off the soup's beautiful green color.
Now if you think is only for cold winter days, think again! Summertime can also be soup season if you serve vichyssoise, gazpacho, or Hungarian cherry soup -- just three of the many soups designed to be served chilled.
Not only are cold soups beautiful and flavorful, they're ridiculously easy to make! Many require no cooking, you just whir them up in a blender or food processor. For instance you can make a perfectly credible soup just by combining 3 parts chopped melon or cucumber with one part yogurt.
Cold soups are typically served as appetizers but a hearty, cold borscht or an icy, Greek lemon-soup can be the centerpiece of a summer meal. And soup -- especially fruit soup -- can even be served for dessert.
Gazpacho may be the most famous of chilled soups. It's the traditional tomato and cucumber soup from the Andalusia region of Spain. There are many variations: there's Greek gazpacho, seafood gazpacho, and even cranberry gazpacho. At the lodge in Kōʻele on the island of Lanai in Hawaii, they make gazpacho with pineapples and Maui apples.