Delicate Garlic Soup

…Or ‘Tourain Blanchi à l’Ail‘ in French.


This velvety garlic soup from South-West France makes a warming lunch, or a light starter for an evening meal. It will fill your kitchen with the wonderful smell of garlic frying in fat – a scent and flavour, which the soup manages to keep hold of right through the cooking process.


Serves 4 as a main dish, or 6 in small bowls for a starter.



  • 1 generous knob of fat; duck, goose or pork. For vegetarians use butter. Oil won’t be the same.
  • 6 garlic cloves, lightly crushed
  • 1 tbspn plain flour
  • 1½ litres of water
  • 2 tspn of wine vinegar (preferably white)
  • 1 egg, separated
  • Good pinch of salt and optional pepper
  • Optional country bread, preferably day-old.


What to do:

  • Fry the garlic very gently in the fat, until golden. Don’t allow it to brown.
  • Stir in the flour to make a roux. You may need a little extra fat to make the roux smooth.
  • Gradually stir in the water, bit by bit, taking care that the emulsion is always relatively uniform before adding more water.
  • Bring the soup to the boil, and keep boiling for 20 minutes.
  • Turn down the heat, and pour in the egg white. Try to drizzle rather than plonking it in.
  • Mix the yolk with the vinegar, and stir a little of the soup into the mixture.
  • Take the pan off the heat, and stir in the yolk and vinegar.
  • If using bread, put a slice in the bottom of each bowl. Moisten each slice with a little soup before ladling in the rest of the serving.


A rosé goes well with this tourain, and don’t forget to do ‘lou chabrol‘, the tradition of adding a little little wine to the last of the soup in your bowl; stir and then drink the dregs straight from the bowl.