Travel Tip #12 – Cold Soups Vary in Different Countries

BowlIf you maintain a gluten-free regimen, it’s good to know that cold soups vary in different countries. It’s easy to assume that cold soups are lighter and less likely to be thickened with flour than a hot soup. Whether you’re in the US or traveling around the world, that can be a dangerous assumption.

I love a crisp, cold gazpacho. In the US, you really don’t even need to ask if it’s gluten-free unless it’s marketed as a traditional Spanish version or is garnished with croutons. American gazpacho recipes begin with fresh vegetables and most often contain tomatoes or tomato juice as a base.
In Spain, the traditional liquid-salad gazpacho recipes begin with pieces of stale bread blended with olive oil, vinegar, and ice water. They may or may not contain tomatoes. In La Mancha, a hot meat stew is called gazpacho manchego. When traveling in Europe, be sure to ask before you assume the gazpacho is gluten-free or even cold.

In the US, borscht recipes are sometimes gluten-free as many are in Belarus, Latvia, and Lithuania, but some versions in the US are thickened with flour and many variations in Poland and Romania contain rye bread, dumplings, wheat bran, or barley bran. Be sure to verify, borscht before ordering anywhere.

Vichyssoise sounds very fancy and French, but seems to have been invented in the US. This cold mixture of puréed leeks, onions, potatoes, cream, and chicken stock gets its thickness from the potatoes and leeks leaving no need for an additional thickening agent. When you’re outside the US, it’s good to ask since this fact may get lost in translation.
As the weather heats up, chefs around the world create delicious cold soup combinations. The majority are filled with perfect pairings of vegetables, fruits, and herbs. I know you can’t wait to enjoy a taste, but take a moment to ask if it’s gluten-free. It’s still better to be safe than sorry.

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