The 50th Anniversary Issue

Our 50th birthday issue is on sale now. We're celebrating five decades of great food and travel with our biggest issue yet.

Subscribe to Gourmet

Subscribe to Australian Gourmet Traveller before 27th November, 2016 and receive a Villeroy & Boch platter!

Gourmet on your iPad

Subscribe to Gourmet Traveller for your iPad.

Ajo blanco

You'll need

200 gm crustless, day-old sourdough bread, coarsely chopped 400 gm (2½ cups) blanched almonds 4 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped 100 ml olive oil 50 ml sherry vinegar, or to taste To serve: small green seedless grapes, thinly sliced To serve: almond oil (see note)


  • 01
  • Process bread, almonds, garlic, olive oil and 1 litre of water in a blender until smooth. Season to taste with sherry vinegar, sea salt and freshly ground white pepper. Transfer to a jug. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until well chilled (2-3 hours). Makes 1.5 litres.
  • 02
  • Stir soup, then ladle among bowls, scatter with grape slices, drizzle with almond oil and serve immediately.
Note Almond oil is available from the health food section in supermarkets and health food stores.

Chilled soups. You either love ’em or hate ’em. My theory is that the haters have never tried ajo blanco because one small sip of this iced beauty is enough to turn anyone to the light side. And when sampled after a long day’s work in the Spanish fields, one can only imagine how truly satisfying this creation would have been under a hot sun.

Translating as white garlic, ajo blanco is also sometimes known as white gazpacho. It’s Malaga’s version of Andalucía’s gazpacho and, instead of using ultra-ripe tomatoes and green and red capsicum, it makes use of the region’s famed almonds. From there, it’s similar to Andalucían gazpacho in that it’s puréed with garlic, thickened with day-old bread and spiked with a hint of sherry vinegar. Sweet slivers of white grapes, used as garnish, are the icing on the proverbial cake and the sum of these parts add up to an elegantly simple whole.

The key to a perfect ajo blanco lies in thorough chilling. In the old days, the chilling was accomplished by adding ice-cold water from the well (which also served to thin the concoction), but these days a good chilling in the refrigerator will do the trick. Under no circumstances, according to the purists, is ice to be added.

The origins of the soup is a bone of some contention. Some say it dates back to the Islamic conquest; others claim it was a peasant dish adapted for city tastes some time during the 19th century. Once pounded by hand in a mortar and pestle, modern technology makes puréeing a cinch. So there’s really no excuse not to try this one, perhaps paired with a nice glass of sherry. And, after that? No doubt a good siesta.

At A Glance

  • Serves 6 people
Signature Collection

Find out more about the Gourmet Traveller Signature Collection by Robert Gordon Australia, including where to buy it in store and online.

Read More
things to do this autumn

Whether it's foraging for wild mushrooms in a picturesque Victorian forest or watching a film by moonlight in Darwin, we've got you covered with 20 exciting autumn experiences from around Australia.

Read More
Gourmet TV

Check out our YouTube channel for our latest cover recipes, chef cooking demos, interviews and more.

Watch Now

At A Glance

  • Serves 6 people

Additional Notes


When the weather turns hot, MoVida’s take on this hits the spot. While you’re at it, check out their new sherry bar, MoVida Next Door. 1 Hosier La, Melbourne, Vic, (03) 9663 3038.

You might also like...

Summer seafood recipes


Christmas pudding ice-cream

Summer salad recipes


Raspberry and Mint Mojito

Quick summer recipes


Neil Perry: Prawn cocktail

Christmas classic recipes


Serge Dansereau: Blueberry vanilla tart

Adriano Zumbo's Christmas recipes


Barbecue trout bundles with prosciutto and button mushrooms

Holiday entertaining recipes


Serge Dansereau: Homemade lemonade

David Thompson's Thai recipes


Serge Danserau: Duck confit and potato terrine

Strawberry recipes


conversion tool

get the latest news

Sign up to receive the latest food, travel and dining news direct from Gourmet Traveller headquarters.