Grape Harvesters’ Soup

Tourain à la Bordelaise

Preparation info

    • Difficulty


Appears in

Simple French Food

By Richard Olney

Published 1974

  • About

The various tourains of southwestern France are also onion soups. The onions are colored in goose fat, lard, or drippings and the simplest is moistened with water, simmered for from 45 minutes to 1 hour and served over crusts of bread. Garlic is sometimes added, often a spoonful of flour is stirred into the onions after they have been browned and before they are moistened, a handful of French thread-thin vermicelli may be added a few minutes before serving, and terminal egg-yolk bindings are not uncommon. The bread crusts may be rubbed with garlic, and certain households add a bit of vinegar at the last minute.

The following is a typical Bordelais tourain and is traditional at the season of the wine-grape harvest. A native may first eat his sopped bread crust, empty out his (red) wine glass into the soup, and drink the rest from the soup plate, a performance known as faire chabrol (or faire chabrot)—to act like a little goat—and which belongs more to the realm of folklore than to that of contemporary habit.