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.