If we were to ask what’s the truly original Edmonton soup, more than a few of us would look to this city’s roots as a haven for Eastern European migrants. And that leads us to Edmonton’s most famous bowl of pickle soup — which can be found at Continental Treat.
It’s a thick potato soup, with carrots and not just the wonderfully sour brine, but hearty pickle chunks in there as well. And while you don’t often think of soup as a pairing for beer, a fresh Eastern European lager is a wonderful accompaniment to the tartness of the broth. I had it most recently with a Golden Pheasant lager from Slovakia, and it made for a heck of a combo.
If you’re thinking that putting pickles in soup is a bizarre practice best left in the 19th century, it really is no different than great sour soups from other cultures. And, sour soups play big in Eastern European culture — from Transylvanian “csorba” sour soup to Russian borscht laden with sour cream.
But pickle soup has a richness, a way to comfort you on a winter’s day, that is all its own. You can get it in a large bowl or in a cup size, if you plan on having the schnitzel, with some cucumber salad and red cabbage on the side. After all, red cabbage’s mix of sweet and sour is worth another essay just by itself…