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Friday, September 14, 2007

Cantaloupe Melon Fruit Soup with Applemint

Ever since discovering the wonders of a truly great farmer's market cantaloupe paired with the softness of apple mint, I have been thinking about fruit soup. Fruit soup is an odd thing for me to think about because frankly, where I grew up you just don't make fruit into soup. Until I started researching this post, I thought fruit soup was some trendy conspiracy between Gourmet magazine and cosmopolitan chefs. Instead I discovered that fruit soups have a surprisingly broad and deep history. I suggest you try one of these simple but elegant soups as an homage to the last slipping days of summer. This is my entry for this week's Weekend Herb Blogging #100, started by Kalyn's Kitchen and hosted this week by Daily Unadventures in Cooking

The Skinny on Fruit Soup

Fruit soups come from a dizzying variety of cultures, and are as varied as their makers. Fruit soups can be found in Northern Europe but also Eastern Europe and the Balkans. You could enjoy a bowl of Finnish rhubarb soup or catch a bite of Czech blueberry soup. You can stop for a hot fruit soup with meat in Iran, but also get a tasty bowl of fruit soup in Israel. also Central Asia. Western Europe and Africa lack an established culinary tradition of fruit soup (hmm, this sounds like a challenge for when I get to Ghana).

Where these soups are made, they can be made with fresh seasonal fruit, but also with dried fruits available year round. Apparently fruit soups may be served hot or cold. They may be sweet or savory. Many of them rely on some alcohol in the making. And when would you eat them? There seems no culinary rhyme or reason to their ordering in the course of dinner. Sweden serves fruit soup before a fish course, but in Norway you will find it after the meat course. In Finland it is the last course before pastries, but in Estonia it is served as dessert.

There is not much established theory on where these varied "fruit soup" culinary traditions originated from, but there is an interesting and fairly well researched theory on the spread of people from Russia who had a particular liking for sweet/sour combinations. Check out Soup Song for more on that.

Ingredients (per serving)

1 cup very ripe and fragrant cantaloupe
1 Tbsp fine quality dark rum
1 tsp orange zest
2 Tbsp chicken broth

Combine all and blend well. Serve cold as a first course.

Garnish with Applemint. You may also garnish with sour cream or Greek style yogurt (as is more common in Russian-derived fruit soup traditions).


Emilie said...

Sounds delicious. I made a fruit soup with cherries one time, and it was very good.

Kalyn said...

I've never had fruit soup, but this sounds delicious!

Helene said...

Fruit soups on hot days, reminding me of childhood days. This sounds really delicious. I used to know fruit soups with cherries, strawberries and sago.
Will try yours!! :)

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