The southern Spanish region of Andalusia is known for this dish. A Spanish refrain says, "De gazpacho no hay empacho" which means there's never too much gazpacho. It hits the spot any time of the day or night. In Andalusia, you will probably eat these cold soups as a first course, just as they have been served for about thirty years in the restaurants and private homes of the large cities in Andalusia. It is still customary in village homes to have gazpacho after the first course and before dessert.
History: Originally a soup from Andalusia in southern Spain. It probably derives from Roman dish gruel of bread and oil. The name gazpacho may come either from the Latin or Mozarab (Hispano-Romans or "would-be Arab") word "caspa," meaning "fragments, residue, or little pieces," referring to the bread crumbs which are such an essential ingredient. None of the forerunners of gazpacho contained tomatoes, considered basic today. That's because tomatoes were unknown in Spain, until after the discovery of the New World. The base for gazpacho was originally bread, garlic, oil, vinegar, and salt. The Roman legions carrying bread, garlic, salt, olive oil and vinegar along the roads of the Empire, with each soldier making his own mixture to taste. An ancient ritual whereby they approach after each other and then "step back" at the moment of eating. The Moorish influence is evident too, especially in some of the variations on the basic theme, such as ajo blanco, made with ground almonds. Gazpacho was originally poor people's food and was eaten in the fields.
According to historians, the popularity of gazpacho out of Andalusia into the rest of Spain is said to be the result of Eugenia de Montijo, originally from Granada and the wife of the French Emperor Napoleon III in the 1850s. Gazpacho was unknown, or little known, in the north of Spain before about 1930.
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