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A Souper Tasty Lunch!

Posted Dec 03 2012 7:04pm

Though today is unseasonably warm here in Boston, we have gotten some snow and some colder days. On those cold days, it really starts to feel like Christmas!

Holiday cheer is great and all, but you don't want to freeze your tail-feather off.


So if you're out and about doing your Christmas shopping, Panera soup can be a yummy way to warm up and fuel up! I hadn't tried their soups before, but recently got a chance to as part of the DailyBuzz Food Taste Maker program with Panera (so yes, this review is sponsored in that I got to try the soup for free - but I am not obligated to give a positive review. As always, I tell it as I taste it!).
 
The soups vary daily, but they're consistently made following Panera's philosophy of only "good goes in" to their soups. There are several soups to choose from everyday, including the classic (vegetarian creamy tomato, low-fat all-natural chicken noodle, baked potato) and some newer twists (like low-fat vegetarian garden vegetable with pesto). 
There's always at least one, usually more, vegetarian option!
I tried the Vegetarian Creamy Tomato (it seems to be a daily staple - every time that I've been in, they've had it!) which is described as 'vine-ripened pear tomatoes pureed with fresh cream for a velvety smooth flavor accentuated by hints of red pepper & oregano, topped with our Asiago croutons.' Sounds good!
But how did it taste? 
Well, I got mine to go (I brought it back home to eat, since I really needed to get some finals-cramming done) so I don't have any photos. It wouldn't have been fair, since the soup does look a little less pretty after bubbling over in my microwave (whoopsies) than it did when it started out. But the picture from their site is actually pretty spot-on! 

Anyway, it was yummy! Even after being warmed up in the microwave! I'm not sure if tomato soup usually has cream in it, but the addition of the cream this one made it much richer and really brought out the tomato flavor - but not in a crisp, summery way. Instead, the tomatoes tasted hearty and a bit like when you roast them in the oven. Also, probably because of the cream, the soup was more filling (and kept me full longer) than soups normally are. It was really satisfying! The soup was smooth and the croutons were delicious and crunchy (i got them on the side, so they weren't soggy when I got home). I really liked the addition of the red pepper, it added pizzaz, and the oregano made it taste properly Italian!
How gourmet :) And YES, we have a Panera in Harvard Square now! I can't even begin to tell you how happy my friends were when it opened last year. I won't name names, but I did have one particular friend who came running to my room, pretty much shrieking 'LET'S GET BREAD!!!!!'
After I introduce her to their soups, she might forget its Panera Bread. The soups really are tasty, especially when it's cold.  Here's the smile they got from me!

Sorry for the no-make-up, uncombed hair mess that is me right now. Hey, dead week is starting - no judging!
So anyway, Panera soups are healthy, tasty, and warm (that last one's the ticket when it's cold out!). But there's actually one more really awesome reason why I like Panera - they're active in the Feeding America campaign and distribute Panera soup at soup kitchens! It's always important to help each other, but doing good during the holidays just feels so good :) Thanks, Panera!

If you're trying to pass the hours in an airport in a few weeks, there's also a kind of fun  Soup Scrambler  game on Panera's website that you might want to check out.
What do you like to eat to warm up?
Have you tried any of Panera's soups yet?
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