A couple of weeks ago I attended the Alvalle Gazpacho Gathering in Brockwell Park Community Greenhouses, South London. For those who don't know what gazpacho is, it's a delicious Spanish starter made from mixed tomatoes, fresh vegetables and seasoning. I went solo to the event but was soon clinking glasses of delicious gazpacho with others and making new friends with locals from the area. I came away from the event thinking about the importance of connecting with people within your local community and how food really does break down social barriers. Sharing food around a table is the best way to connect with people. I have been writing about this very thing for many years, but it is always so good to be reminded of the importance of connecting with others, especially for your mental health; everything seems a lot easier in life when you don’t feel alone.
So last weekend I decided to invite a couple of neighbours around to my house for my own Gazpacho Gathering. I set up a pretty table in the garden with my best linens (I don’t believe in good things gathering dust!), flowers from the garden, comfy cushions and created a jazzy playlist. I wanted my guests to feel special immediately. Then I created boards and plates of different antipasti for the pinchos that I served with the chilled gazpacho.
Mini Mozzarella bowls with fresh rosemary and extra virgin olive oil drizzled on top
Salami and prosciutto
Sun blushed tomatoes
Olives with fresh rosemary and thin slices of garlic
GAZPACHO GATHERING TIP!
I used sprigs of fresh rosemary instead of wooden skewers. Just remove two-thirds of the leaves (sprinkle them over the mozzarella, olives or sun-blushed tomatoes). The sprig of rosemary not only looks great but it also scents whatever you skew on to it.
I decanted the Alvalle Gazpacho into a simple glass jug and poured the chilled soup into small glasses. Then I invited everyone to help themselves to build their own pinchos. It was the perfect appetiser for the warm evening basked in that hazy, early evening sun.
My guests left feeling happy and relaxed. It’s amazing how preparing a meal around a table can connect with others; bonding one another’s friendship.
I hope I have passed on the inspiration to you to create your own Gazpacho Gathering!