The bowled and the beautiful

Star chef Chris McDonald of Cava samples Toronto's top gazpacho.


The Spanish certainly know the best ways to combat the heat — siestas, sangria and, of course, cool, refreshing gazpacho. We rounded up the city’s takes on the traditional cold soup and asked star chef Chris McDonald of Cava to tell us which is tops.


Winner: Spoonful of Joy


“This has to be the winner,” the decisive chef says without a trace of doubt. He praises Summerhill Market’s soup for its flavours of fresh oil, vinegar and garlic. He also appreciates the thickness of its viscosity, achieved from ground vegetables.
446 Summerhill Ave.  Price: $8.99 per container.


Chilly chili


Chef McDonald takes a spoonful of this colourful soup and crunches down on its fresh diced vegetables. He notices right away the addition of cumin and says, “It tastes like chili.” He would prefer a simple seasoning of herbs, salt and pepper.
9665 Bayview Ave.  Price: $9.99 per jar


Humble beginnings


“This looks like chilled cream of tomato soup,” McDonald says of Segovia’s offering. He praises it as a good start but concludes that it needs some hand-chopped garnish to be considered a true gazpacho.
5 Saint Nicholas St.  Price: $8 per serving


Bowled over


“This one has dill, which seems like the wrong herb for gazpacho,” the chef says after tasting Pusateri’s soup. He enjoys it nonetheless, saying, “It’s a nice bowl of chilled soup — it’s just not gazpacho.”
1539 Avenue Rd.  Price: $6.99 per container


Going nuts


Our discerning judge takes a spoonful of this unusual take on the tomato-based soup, then pulls something out of his mouth — an untoasted pine nut. “I love pine nuts, but they must be toasted,” he says. He pushes the bowl aside, unimpressed.  
20 Cumberland St.  Price: $6 per serving


Bottoms up


McDonald is immediately taken aback by the spiciness (a 7/10, he says) of McEwan’s soup. He laughs and exclaims, “This tastes like a Bloody Mary!” He suggests adding a shot of vodka for a really good cocktail.  
38 Karl Fraser Rd.  Price: $10.95 per jar.

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