By: Saema Nasir
Soup evokes warm memories for me. Whether it was grandma’s chicken noodle soup or that newly discovered pho place around the corner, thoughts of soup bring up visions of warmth, coziness and goodness. One brand well-known for its hearty soups is Campbell’s. The iconic red and white can of tomato soup has been a go-to for moms, college students and young professionals for decades.
With its new pop-up soup restaurant on Queen West in Toronto, The Cantina, Campbell’s is spreading the word about its new line of delicious soups, while also freshening up its brand.
I attended the launch of The Cantina by Campbell’s and was interested in learning about the concept, while sipping and savouring delicious soups. Campbell’s has collaborated with Matt Dean Pettit, owner of the popular Rock Lobster restaurants in Toronto. His high-energy and passionate advocacy of Campbell’s new soup kits brought vigour to the event.
"I was inspired by the world and global cultures. I wanted to bring to life the idea that ‘we all soup,'" he enthused to the rapt crowd.
The soup kit ideas Dean Pettit helped create, which require you to combine the kits with your own fresh ingredients are reflective of the global village in which we as foodies live in.
There are four new soup flavours available for tasting at The Cantina. The best part? They are all free! Here is my low-down on how they all taste and whether they live up to the hype:
- Thai Chicken and Rice Khao Soi – Although this soup comes out of a package, it didn’t taste like instant soup. Instead it has an earthy and tangy taste to it with a pleasant zing as well. You can expect Thai curry flavouring to the broth-based chicken and veggie soup.
- Creamy Tomato Black Bean Taco Soup – This is not your mother’s tomato soup. Influenced by Mexican flavours, it is a creamy fusion dish, which has a thick consistency due to the pulses in it and is pleasantly acidic. Creamy and rich, this soup is perfect for our cold Canadian winters.
- Roasted Beer Can Cream of Chicken Soup – This creative concoction was hands down my favorite and the very best soup of the night! The spicy, zingy soup incorporates roasted chicken and had a very creamy consistency. The depth of flavour was great and it exceeded my expectations of how soup could taste.
- Spicy Vegetarian Ramen – The ramen soup had a strong flavour, which could turn off those not familiar with Asian flavours, but for those who love them, this soup is bang on. It’s fresh, authentic taste brought out notes of lemongrass, seaweed and the vegetable broth is earthy.
Brick and wooden accented walls combined with chic seating and chalk art make this space seem like the hippest cafeteria on the block. There is also a mosaic wall where guests can place a sticker to create pop art. What’s more is that Campbell’s is donating one can of soup to the Daily Bread Food Bank for each sticker that is placed on the wall.
As I mingled with other guests, I could not help but think that all those present seemed really excited and engaged about a very simple, inexpensive meal: soup. Far from a boring meal, Campbell’s has made people excited to consume soup again.
Next time you want some warmth on a cold night and don’t have hours to make soup from scratch, grab a Campbell’s soup kit by heading over to The Cantina.
The Cantina by Campbell’s is located at 501 Queen Street West and is open until February 21, 2016. Hours: Monday – Friday, 11:00 a.m. 8 p.m. & Saturday – Sunday, 11:00 a.m. – 7 p.m.
Photos courtesy of Campbell's.
Saema is a marketing communications specialist who blogs, writes, paints & explores her beautiful city of Toronto. She has a Masters in Public Relations and also blogs at thecityquill.com. Follow her on Twitter @saemanasir.