Bold & cold: Tio Gazpacho bottles the good stuff

Photos by Linda Bladholm for the Miami Herald

Chilled gazpacho soup is refreshing on a hot day, and now there’s Tio Gazpacho that can be swigged from the bottle, no bowl required. 

Gazpacho is derived from the Latin word caspa meaning “little pieces,” referring to the bread crumbs added to thicken the soup and use up stale bread. It probably arrived with the Romans who added vinegar, although the Moors who ruled Spain for 700 years made ajo blanco, a white version based on ground almonds, grapes and garlic. 

Today, tomatoes are essential to gazpacho, but they were only brought from the New World in the 16th century.

Entrepreneur and company founder Austin Allan fell in love with Spain during a study-abroad program, and although he wasn’t a fan of tomatoes (he grew up in New Jersey where he ate Doritos and chicken nuggets), he loved gazpacho. After finishing his degree in marketing at Washington University in St. Louis, he returned to Madrid, where he lived for three years learning Spanish. 

Allan came back and worked in finance at a bank for several years, but wanted to do something he was passionate about. He focused on the gazpacho he used to drink cold out of the carton in Spain, like liquid salad. 

His friend Alex Vasquez, who runs Ten Fruits Juice Bar in downtown Miami, said Allan could use his commercial kitchen when it was closed. He started making gazpacho at night and giving it away to friends. When the response was positive, he formed an LLC on a shoestring budget, then moved to a facility in Hialeah when the chilled soups started to sell at farmers markets. 

Allan now concentrates on marketing the product, which is produced in a certified organic plant in Connecticut using a high-pressure cold-pasteurization process so the soups are never heated and retain nutrition. 

He came up with three flavors using organic produce and no bread so the soup is gluten-free. 

Clasico is the traditional Andalusian-style blend of vine-ripe tomatoes, green pepper, red onion and cucumber with garlic, olive oil and sherry vinegar. Gazpacho de Sol is made with yellow tomatoes from California, carrots, yellow bell pepper, cucumber with shallots, garlic, olive oil and white wine vinegar. Gazpacho Verde is made with tomato, green peppers, cucumber, avocado, kale, spinach, red onion, jalapeño, mint, garlic, olive oil and apple cider vinegar.

The flavors are bold with enough garlic to scare off a vampire and seasoned with pink Himalayan salt. If you are not eating enough vegetables, this is a great way to drink your plant vitamins. 

Allan may not be an uncle (Tio) but in Spanish slang tio means “hey dude,” and that’s how he is known these days. One cool dude.

Linda Bladholm is a Miami-based food writer.