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A Cold Weather Soup from the Hottest Restaurant in Puerto Rico…White Bean Soup from Marmalade in Old San Juan

A Cold Weather Soup from the Hottest Restaurant in Puerto Rico…White Bean Soup from Marmalade in Old San Juan
Color abounds in Old San Juan
Old San Juan is quite a surprise.  For those of you who may have missed it, it’s the second oldest city in the Americas dating back to 1521.  It’s filled with history and vividly colored buildings on blue cobblestoned streets. One of the main drags is Calle Fortaleza, at one end of which is the Governor’s Mansion, La Fortaleza.  The stately building is the oldest continuously occupied Governor’s Mansion in the U.S, of which Puerto Rico has been a part since The Spanish-American War in 1898.  Fortaleza Street itself is lined with Souvenir Shops, Jewelry stores and Art Galleries.

La Fortaleza
 And in their midst at 317 Fortaleza, is Marmalade, (Tel:(787) 724-3969 www.marmaladepr.com)the #1 Restaurant in Puerto Rico. That is according to Trip Advisor’s reviewers.  And after a dinner there last week, I would happily add my voice in singing its praises.

The restaurant is an anomaly.  It’s officially called Marmalade Restaurant and Lounge.   Its look is that of an exotic club with diaphanous curtains dividing the high-ceilinged space into more intimate areas.  There’s a modernist look here that would separate Marmalade from anywhere

Marmalade Restaurant and Lounge

else in the old city.  But what really separates Marmalade is its menu and a standard of cooking that is simply outstanding.

The chef here is Peter Schintler. A totally charming presence in the restaurant as well as the kitchen, this Iowa native has a background that is next to none:  He has worked at Le Cirque in New York, Le Manoir Aux Quatre Saisons in England and La Contea in Italy.   He came to Puerto Rico to consult and stayed on to

Chef Peter Schintler

open Marmalade.  Guidebooks will tell you that there’s an emphasis on Vegetarian and Vegan cuisine here but you’d hardly know it from the four dishes that made up a tasting menu chosen by one of this team members, a knowledgeable server named Craig. Along with each dish came generous wine parings.  For starters, candy stripe beets with a blood orange vinaigrette arrived beautifully plated as you can see. House-made pasta made its appearance featuring a rabbit ragu. Astonishingly, one of the servers apparently provides the rabbits for the dish.  A stellar seafood course paired sausage, clams and mahi mahi in a spicy broth.  But the stand-out item and the one I share with you today is Chef Schintler’s White Bean Soup.

One sip and you’re in soup heaven
Arriving at the table with a generous topping of shaved truffles, this sumptuous offering gets its smoky, creamy flavor from the large amount of bacon in its preparation. There’s even something called “Bacon dust” involved here, which a server assured me is just made by two slices of bacon being pulverized in the food processor.  I can’t think of a better soup to eat as the cold sets in and the weather calls for soup.  Top this one off with some black truffle oil and chives and dip right in.  You’ll understand immediately why Marmalade is a must-stop on any trip to Puerto Rico. The recipe provided is for a giant quantity of soup which I am sure will freeze well.  But if you must, you can certainly halve the recipe.  Although, I am fairly sure you won’t the second time you make it.

4 thoughts on “A Cold Weather Soup from the Hottest Restaurant in Puerto Rico…White Bean Soup from Marmalade in Old San Juan”

  • Sounds like a great winter soup! One question though: What about the chopped bacon? Does that go in with the beans for the 90-minute simmer, or is it just a garnish at the end along with the bacon "dust"?

  • Thank God somebody's paying attention. Thanks to you Corine, I have re-edited the recipe and put the bacon into the broth where it belongs! The "Bacon Dust" is the garnish but the more sizeable quantity of bacon gets added to the soup when the beans do. So pleased to see you doing so well with Corine's Cuisine! MM

  • OMgosh, the truffles were so large, I thought that was the unreserved bacon! Love the photo of the Chef, cutie bug, but my heart is with my Monte, AND this soup. 😀

  • Things are going well with Corine's Cuisine, and we're pushing hard to get our sauces onto people's holiday tables this season. We go back into the test kitchen for R&D on three new sauces in December. Once they are done, we'll send you a set. Thanks again for your great recipes and writing. We will try the soup this weekend, and we can't thank you enough for turning us on to that tri-tip recipe. It's become a weekly household standard here! C

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