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It’s turned off cool here is Paris. The leaves are changing color. The Indian Summer we were experiencing in September has tapered off and left us with a few sunny days with cooler winds. Autumn is in the air. And autumn for me means scarves, red wine, opaque tights and soup.

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Yesterday morning while walking down the front hill of Montmartre toward a friend’s apartment to share a pain au chocolat and coffee I passed Place des Abbesses. To my pleasure, the carousel was lit up and making its way round and round, and next to the old trusted Presse stand whose advertising asks us ‘What can we still eat?’ I read the words: Amoureusement soupe. I looked up to see a few tents under which a buzz of people mixing and chopping all with aprons wrapped around their hips. My eyes glanced to the other size to find a panel displaying ten soup names with little containers below. “The voting booth”, I heard someone explain. At 11am I wasn’t yet quite in the mood for a soup degustation, but by the time I returned to Abbesses on my way home a few hours later the mood had struck me.

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The concept of Amourseusement Soupe? (Lovingly Soup) Simple: 10 soups by 10 food bloggers for 10 euros. The tasters are the jury and vote for their favorite recipe by putting their spoon in the appropriate container.

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IMG_1536As I made the rounds, amongst a herd of enthusiastic tasters/judges, I sampled everything from traditional (and rather unexciting to the palate) recipes like carrot, potato, onion soup, to much more exotic concoctions such as lentil curry; pear squash; brocoli apple with raisins and roasted almonds; or tomato cactus topped with a twist of lime and cilantro. My favorite was a mushroom soup with olive tamponade and homemade olive oil croutons. Delicious, just superb.

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I placed my vote my deposing my little plastic white spoon in the box corresponding to my favorite flavor. I didn’t stay until the end to see what the ultimate prize was for the winning soup maker, but the idea of such tiny festivals blending savor and conviviality inspired me.

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What a lovely way to spend a Saturday afternoon!

Here’s the recipe for the mushroom soup (4 people):

  • 500g (2.5 cups) chopped mushrooms de Paris
  • 1 onion
  • 20cl water (3/4 cup)
  • 40cl liquid cream (1.5 cups)
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 6 tbs olive oil
  • Thyme
  • Salt & pepper

Wash and chop mushrooms into 4. Chop onion. In a soup pot, sauté onions in olive oil. Add mushrooms. Salt and pepper to taste. Mix in cream and the water. Let simmer for 30 minutes on low heat. Mix the whole in a blender or with a hand mixer.

For the topping:

  • 5 pieces of sliced bread
  • 120g black olives no pits (1/2 cup)
  • 4 tbs olive oil

Cut the bread into crouton bits and dice the olives. Sauté the croutons and olives in olive oil until the croutons are golden. Dress the soup with a soup full of the topping.

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