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This silky soup with its cheesy richness needs a white wine with body and texture to match. Our Eola-Amity Hills Chardonnay is ideal. It has enough varietal lushness to complement the soup and enough zesty acidity to make it a welcome pour at the start of a meal.
In a large pot, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the onion and celery, and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft and translucent, about 5 minutes.
Add the cauliflower, wine, milk, stock, and bay leaf. Cover and simmer until the cauliflower is soft, about 15 – 20 minutes.
Turn off heat and allow the soup to cool for 10 minutes. Add the 1/2 cup almonds and 2 cups Manchego to the mixture, and blend in a blender, or use an immersion blender, until smooth.
If desired, pass the soup through a wire soup strainer into a bowl, then return the soup to the pot. Season with salt.
Ladle the soup into warmed bowls. Garnish each serving with almonds, Manchego shavings, and a pinch of piment d’Espellete.
-Chef Peter Janiak