What's The Difference Between Gazpacho And Vichyssoise?

When summer is near, soup is on the menu. Well, chilled soup that is. Bright and flavorful chilled soups are fun, creative, and great with a slice of grilled bread. You get the satisfaction of eating a big bowl of soup without sweating through your clothes. There are lots of types of chilled soups, a couple of popular options being gazpacho and vichyssoise, but what is the difference really?

Gazpacho is a Spanish dish that is especially popular in the region of Andalusia. It is a pureed mixture of uncooked vegetables, and is often thickened with breadcrumbs or sometimes even almonds. While a little unconventional to the American palate, picture fresh summer produce like juicy tomatoes, crisp and sweet cucumbers, crunchy fresh bell peppers, vibrant herbs, and zingy garlic all combined with good olive oil. Peak summer produce like this can be so yummy raw that cooking it almost seems like a shame. When eating gazpacho, you get the pleasure of nomming on some delightful summer produce without just eating a straight-up plate of raw vegetables.

Vichyssoise falls into a completely different genre of chilled soups. Vichyssoise is a delicate, mellow, and creamy French-inspired soup. While there are definitely French potato and leek soups, the version of vichyssoise that is well-known today was more than likely created by chef Louis Diat at the Ritz Carlton Hotel in New York City in 1917. It uses a pureed combination of leeks, potatoes, and cream to create an elegant and simple chilled soup.

What are some variations on traditional gazpacho and vichyssoise?

The Portuguese version of gazpacho, called arjamohlo, uses pretty much the same ingredients as Spanish gazpacho, but is not fully pureed. Instead, the vegetables are finely chopped and mixed with oil, vinegar, and cold water to make the broth, creating a dish that straddles the line between chilled soup, salad, and salsa. Croutons are served alongside and stirred into the soup before serving. Salmorejo, coming from Cordoba, Spain, is another variation of gazpacho. This version primarily uses tomatoes and a significant amount of bread to create a thicker texture. It is often garnished with serrano ham and boiled egg.

Vichyssoise can go beyond simple leeks and potatoes to include different combinations of alliums and starchy vegetables like turnips, parsnips, or even cauliflower. Cream, however, is important in all vichyssoise soups as it gives a velvety texture and rich taste that is characteristic of this elegant soup. Served cold during the warm seasons of the year, vichyssoise can also be served warm during the colder months. Plus, vichyssoise is a classic that was Julia Child's favorite soup. How much more endorsement do you need? Bon appetit!