First published on Castle FM site, 2 Feb 2012, by Sam Khan-McIntyre
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All kinds of weird and wonderful soups were swapped and tasted at the soupfest held at the Forest Cafe on Saturday 26 January. This was the first of its kind in Britain, inspired by an American phenomenon. Some of the unusual ingredients used were Haggis and freekeh, which is widely used in the Middle East and comprises of green un-matured corn which is then roasted to bring out its flavour.
Approximately 20 attended, each swapping six soups of the same flavour, the most popular of which received a prize of a donated brand new 5 litre cooking pot.
The event was free to attend, with voluntary donations requested towards Streetworks, a homelessness charity, http://www.streetwork.org.uk/.
The soupswap was the brainchild of Bruce Mason whose wife runs the soup cafe Union of Genius, http://www.unionofgenius.com/ and he found it an interesting challenge to concoct a recipe which would meet his wife’s perceived expectations. Pete Campbell of Elephant Juice food Company http://www.elephantjuicefood.com/ brought one of the soups provided free for tasting. Pete’s soup company has contributed to charitable organisations such as Mary’s Meals, which provides food aid in Africa.
Charitable aims are a traditional part of Soup Swap events, which are also social occasions. The Forest Cafe http://blog.theforest.org.uk/ is a community non-profit organisation run by volunteers, and was used for the event due to its ethos. Here the free soups on offer were enthusiastically consumed, and the event was also an opportunity to meet like-minded soup fans and swap recipes.
The day was a huge success, as evidenced by the enthusiastic uproar during the judging and prize giving, and should set a precedent for this ethically conscious phenomenon to take off in Britain.