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Taste test: Tomato soup

Serving size One cup One cup One cup
Calories 120 100 240
Fat/Fiber 3.5g / 2g 2g / 2g 10g / 3g
Sugars/Sodium 11g / 630mg 11g / 690mg 33g / 820mg
Carbs/Protein 19g / 3g 19g / 3g 33g / 4g

Winter is a good excuse for grilled cheese sandwiches and a cup of soup for dinner. Our panelists wanted to try tomato soups that can be prepared as quickly as the grilled cheeses. We opted for five brands of tomato soup in easy-to-pour cartons that were warmed in minutes. Judges enjoyed the depth of the flavors in such simple accommodations. A couple would even add a dollop of sour cream or some chiffonade basil and dress up the soups for company.


(out of 100)
Archer Farms Organic Tomato Basil 66Pacific Tomato Basil Homestyle 45Campbell's Gourmet Bisques Tomato Roasted Garlic Bacon 44

Hearty chunks of tomato made this soup the top choice for our judges. "It's not too rich, but has an overall appealing texture and taste," said one panelist. "It's pretty swell with a nice, Renoir rose color that makes me think I'm in Paris," said another. "It's good to the bite." Bits of fresh basil made the soup especially attractive, panelists said. "It reminds me of a great bisque," said one.This soup had a dark, rich color and very, sweet tomato taste. "I think it could almost work as a pasta sauce as well as a soup," said one judge. All of the panelists enjoyed the soup, but wanted to add something to the blend. "It's a good base but needs a little doctoring up," said a panelist who wanted to add herbs and maybe a drop of sherry. Another wanted more salt.Garlic flavor was prominent in this soup. It had the color and consistency of a creamy bisque, chunks of tomato and flecks of thyme. "It looks great and it's hearty and very flavorful," said one judge. "This would be the perfect match for mom's grilled cheese sandwich with extra thick cheese and sourdough bread," said another.

they buy?
Three of the five judges said yes.Two of the five judges said yes.Two of the five judges said yes.
Shopping information$2.29 for a 17.3-ounce carton from Target.$2.09 for a 17.6-ounce carton from Target.$2.69 for an 18.3-ounce carton from Target.

Also Sampled: Imagine Organic Creamy Garden Tomato ($4.99 for a 32-ounce carton from Sweetbay, 37 points) and Trader Joe's ($2.49 for a 32-ounce carton, 27 points).

Panelists: Bob Devin Jones, artistic director of Studio@620; Wayne Conery, manager of the R-Bar at Treasure Island; Jeff Jensen, public information officer for the city of Treasure Island; John Hehn, foodie & owner of All Brite Lighting & Power Design; and Laura Reiley, Times food critic. All foods were tasted blind.

Send suggestions for product testing to: Taste section, Tampa Bay Times, P.O. Box 1121, St. Petersburg, FL 33731 or email them to Please put TEST SUGGESTION in the subject line.

Taste test: Tomato soup 02/26/13 [Last modified: Thursday, February 28, 2013 1:14pm]
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