It doesn’t need to get hot for kitchens to start serving those cold soups that are so popular in Spain. Ajoblanco, which has long been in the shadow of the gazpacho and salmorejohas begun to establish itself as one of those summer dishes increasingly present on restaurant menus and of which the origin precedes that of its colored counterparts, which has nothing to envy. A fresh, nutritious preparation, with variations for all tastes and with its own and curious folk festival.
More than an origin, an evolution
There are those who say that the existence of ajoblanco dates back to 2000 years ago and others affirm itborn during the Muslim occupation of the peninsula, but what is certain is that this recipe was not born overnight, but was changing and evolving with the uses and foods of different times. For this reason, one could look back to the year 1600 BC, where a Mesopotamian cookbook It very succinctly described a kind of flour, vinegar and salt concoction that could be the germ of the current recipe.
Closer to this and to the present day are the testimonies of Publio Virgilio Marón or the famous De Re kitchenfrom Marco Gavio Apiciuswritten in the 1st century AD and where he notes different recipes in which the bread is dipped in vinegar and accompanied by almondsas the camera cattabia. In Roman Hispania, however, the recipes with this dried fruit were delicatessen available only to the wealthiest, so they were not very popular dishes among the population. Still, it is in this moment the course of what is now known as ajoblanco begins to be set.
The psalmory It could be the most established origin of this cold soup, a preparation in which garlic is mashed with pieces of bread, all mixed with salt and animal fat, cold water and some herbs. The preparation, widely consumed by farmers to fill up on strength and nutrientsit survived the Visigoths, the Middle Ages and finally came into the hands of the Muslims, who changed the concept.
Almond, a twist in the recipe
At the time of Al-Andalus, a food was appreciated that the Phoenicians had already discovered centuries ago in Asia: the almonds. Introduced into the Mediterranean by the Romans, it wasn’t until the Arabs brought their own culinary culture that almonds began to play a more important role in the cuisine of the peninsula. It was that mix between psalmory and the proliferation of almond trees in Spain, which gave rise to the first white garlic
It was in the places where the planting of trees of this type was more widespread that ajoblanco gained a more notable fame. Although it has now spread much of eastern Andalusia and MurciaIn addition to Extremadura, it can be said that it is in Malaga and Badajoz that the fame achieved is greatest. In fact, experts say it could be the Málaga Axarquia the region where today the most popular recipe originates: bread, cold water, olive oil, raw almonds, garlic, vinegar and salt.
It was later, when Christopher Columbus returned from America with vegetables, that the ajoblanco gave rise to other cold soups, such as gazpacho or salmorejo, which won much fame in the south and were subsequently spread throughout Spain. As usual in such ancient and so popular recipes, there are many versions that can be found of ajoblanco, especially when you change province, but also within them, between municipalities, or for the ingredients that are added or for the foods that accompany it.