Gazpacho is one of the most world renowned Spanish dishes. It is a cold soup, sometimes referred to as a liquid salad, that is ideally served in the summer.
Gazpacho is one of the most world renowned Spanish dishes. It is a cold soup, sometimes referred to as a liquid salad, that is ideally served in the summer months because it is rich in vitamins and refreshing to drink. Gazpacho is also a dish that forms part of the world famous Mediterranean Diet.
Included in the term “gazpacho” are several types of cold soups such as salmorejo or ajoblanco. Gazpacho Andaluz is the most famous of all the gazpachos and it is normally the soup that is referred to when the term “gazpacho” is used. Gazpacho Andaluz consists primarily of water, bread, tomato, garlic, cucumber, peppers and onion to which salt, oil and vinegar is added. This gazpacho is characteristically red due to the tomatoes and red peppers.
According to Covarrubias in his Treasury of the Spanish Language, gazpacho has its origins as a “rough and low-class” dish. It was made up of only water, toasted bread crumbs, oil and vinegar to which gradually new ingredients would be incorporated until eventually it evolved into gazpacho.
With the Mexican Conquest and the discovery of America, new foods were introduced into Spain, and later to Europe. Among the new items to enter Spain were tomatoes and peppers, both cultivated by the Aztecs. Cucumber, likely originating in India and another important ingredient of gazpacho, was already being grown in Spain and was probably introduced into the country by the Greek.
Gazpacho had been mentioned in romance literature as early as the seventh century. Miguel de Cervantes also referenced gazpacho in his Spanish literature masterpiece, El Ingenioso Hidalgo Don Quijote de la Mancha, when the character of Sancho Panza said “I'd rather get my fill of gazpacho then be subject to the misery of an impertinent doctor that kills me with hunger.” [Miguel de Cervantes, El Ingenioso Hidalgo Don Quijote de la Mancha, II, chap. 53].
Among gazpacho's virtues, are its high fiber and antioxidant contents as well as the abundance of vitamin C, A and E. It also contains a number of minerals such as phosphorus, calcium, magnesium, zing, iron etc. As a result of the garlic it contains, gazpacho is also good for vasodiliation, the widening of the blood vessels. Additionally, the tomatoes produce isotonic effects that help the body regulate potassium levels and salt levels.
So, if you want to maintain a healthy diet during your visit to Spain, do not miss the opportunity to try this historical culinary delight. Learn how to prepare gazpacho in our recipe section.