Spanish grilled cheese and smoky cream of tomato soup

Created by our friends at Wines of British Columbia, this elevated comfort classic features local milk, cream, and a combination of cheddar and Swiss cheese. Try it paired with a bright BC Sparkling and a fresh Sauvignon Blanc.


  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 2 stalks of celery, diced
  • ½ bulb fennel, diced
  • 3-4 cloves of garlic thinly sliced or minced
  • 800g good quality tinned tomatoes
  • 400ml local 2% or Homogenized milk
  • 300ml whipping cream
  • 500ml vegetable stock
  • pinch fresh thyme
  • 50g butter
  • 25ml olive oil
  • 15g smoked paprika (hot or semi-sweet)
  • minced chives to garnish

Tomato confit:

  • 250g grape or cherry tomatoes
  • pinch fresh thyme
  • 50-80g butter

Spanish grilled cheese:

  • 1-2 slices aged cheddar
  • 1-2 slices Swiss cheese
  • truffle aioli (mayo, garlic, lemon juice, tabasco, truffle paste)
  • 3-5 pieces sliced Spanish serrano ham (use prosciutto if you can’t find serrano)
  • 2 pieces good sourdough bread


  1. Get a large pot on the stove over medium heat. Add butter and olive oil. Add the onion, sweat for 2 minutes then add the fennel, celery and garlic. Cook down for 8-10 minutes until the onions are quite soft and fragrant. Add the smoked paprika and stir for 1-2 minutes.
  2. Add the tinned tomatoes and vegetable stock. Bring to a boil. Add cream, milk, and thyme, the let simmer for 30 minutes or until tomatoes are well cooked out.  Blend with a hand blender preferably. If you must use a Vitamix or a blender, be very careful and only fill the bowl halfway, as it will expand when turned on.
    Check that the seasoning is to your preference and serve with some good quality extra virgin olive oil and chives to top.
  3. Tomato confit: Get your pan hot, add butter (50g) and the tomatoes. Stew them down for 3-4 minutes deglaze with splash of white wine if you dare. Be careful as it will flambe or sputter if the pan is really hot.
  4. Spanish grilled cheese: Spread aioli on both pieces of bread but only the inside. Add cheddar to one side and Swiss to the other side. Add the serrano ham and fold sandwich together.
  5. Get a heavy bottomed pan nice and warm, add butter and once melted place sando in the pan. Make sure you push it down to get a nice seal on the pan. Once nice and browned do the same on the other side. Slice and serve.

Sommelier Emily Walker recommends: Township 7 Vineyards and Winery Seven Stars Sirius Sparkling and Cannon Estate Winery Bonhomous Sauvignon Blanc as the perfect BC wine pairing for this dish.

Watch below for a demonstration of this locally inspired recipe.

Discover more wine and cheese pairing tips. 

Recipe provided by: Chef Justin Witcher