Each year, in the best tradition of south-west France’s enthusiasm for good local cooking, our local town holds a competition to see who can make the best tourin. Tourin, in case you aren’t aware, is a thickish garlic soup with a bit of egg whisked in and served with (or preferably on top of) bread.
I’d love to tell you how they each taste deliciously different but if truth be told it’s not my thing and I’m a very poor judge of garlic soup, especially after the first three or four samples. The first time we went along, several years ago, I got in the spirit of the event and tried a few of them while smiling enthusiastically, but ever since I have avoided actually eating it, leaving that part of the entertainment to Mrs B.
The judges all dress up handsomely in berets and smocks and ‘ooh’ and ‘aaah’ over the merits of the different versions – a couple of dozen contestants enter their own particular version – before granting the much sought prizes, while further prizes are granted to the tourin that got the most votes from members of the public.
Apparently the arguments about what constitutes a ‘true tourin’ have raged through the generations. Should real tourin be made from onions rather than garlic? Is a sliver of tomato acceptable to add colour (tourin does look rather insipid)? Should goose fat or pig fat to be used? Does it matter and can anyone tell the difference? Does anyone actually eat it at home…?
To prove how simple the standard recipe is I’ll write it twitter style in less than 140 characters:
fry lots garlic, mix in flour, add salty water, simmer 10 min, whisk in egg white, simmer 5 min, add mix of egg yolk-vinegar-pepper, eat
Now, if everyone reading this during the next 12 months could spread the recipe across twitter then we will achieve two goals: (1) good French cooking will get into homes all over the world, and (2) next year the Villereal Tourin contest will have thousands of entries from all around the globe, putting us firmly on the map once and for all.
Note: I couldn’t go to the tourin fete myself this year so Mrs B kindly accepted the responsibility of taking a photograph to accompany this post. Unfortunately she got chatting, or perhaps she was busy gulping endless bowls of the tourin, and by the time she remembered to take a photo the table was bare and the judges had gone home. So about this time next year I’ll add a photo that will make everything much clearer…