Red Box teamed up with some friends to flex our collective creativity and celebrate a local food noisemaker in Cabbagetown, Toronto.
MerryBerry, a cafe located in the heart of Cabbagetown is an unexpected, cozy and vibrant place known for many things including exciting soups. What makes its soups so popular? It’s because the ingredients are high quality and always fresh and the flavour combinations tend to be playful and somewhat unusual.
Owner Cyril Picard is playful and curious. Not one to be satisfied with recreating flavours, Picard experiments with familiar flavours to reinterpret them in an unexpected way. His Smoked Tea Tomato Soup is case in point.
2 cups (500 mL) water
2 tbsp (30 mL) loose smoked tea (Lapsang Souchong)
1 tbsp (15 mL) extra-virgin olive oil
1 small yellow onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
28 oz (794 g) can or 2 lb (1 kg) fresh tomatoes, chopped
1 tbsp (15 mL) tomato paste (find it at Fiesta Farms or Michael-Angelo’s)
1/2 tsp (2.5 mL) sugar
1 tsp (5 mL) salt
1/2 tsp (2.5 mL) black pepper
1 cup (250 mL) 35% cream or coconut milk
Bring water to a boil, remove from heat and add tea. Steep for 3 minutes (mild, less intense tea) to 5 minutes (strong, smoky, more bitter tea). Strain and reserve. In the meantime, heat the oil in a large saucepan and swear the onion for 5 minutes. Add the garlic and keep cooking until the onion is soft and translucent. Add the tomatoes, tomato paste, reserved tea, sugar, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil and remove from heat. Add the cream and blend with a hand-held blender. Taste and adjust seasoning as needed.