Wednesday, December 19, 2012
Over the last year I've fallen in love with Panera. It all started when Tara posted the recipe for Panera's Stovetop Mac and Cheese. When I made the recipe I hadn't been to a Panera in quite some time and I'd never tried their mac and cheese. After making the recipe I vowed to visit a Panera ASAP so I could compare the make-at-home version with the real-deal. I quickly became enamored with their Napa Almond Chicken Salad sandwich, with a side of mac and cheese. This past summer we took a family road trip and ended up eating at a different Panera every day for 4 days straight.
When I was selected to try their soup as part of the Foodbuzz Tastemaker program I was intrigued. Admittedly I'm not much of a soup person, but on that same summer road trip my husband sampled quite a few of their soups and always raved about them. I knew he wouldn't steer me wrong.
Certain soups are available every day (French onion, broccoli cheddar, vegetarian creamy tomato and low-fat all-natural chicken noodle), while some are only available certain days (low-fat vegetarian black bean, baked potato, New England clam chowder, cream of chicken and wild rice and low-fat vegetarian garden vegetable with pesto). The day I picked to review the soup my first two choices - baked potato and New England Clam Chowder - were not available. I guess I'll have to go back another day to sample those. I opted for broccoli cheddar, which is one of my all-time favorite soup combos and one my husband had raved about many times.
I selected the You Pick Two with a cup of the broccoli cheddar soup and half a Napa Almond Chicken Salad sandwich.
I was really impressed with the soup. There were big pieces of broccoli, slivers of carrot and a great cheddar flavor that complimented rather than overwhelmed the flavors. It was delicious and I practically licked the cup clean.
I'd have a hard time giving up the mac and cheese or the chicken salad sandwich so perhaps Panera can do a Pick Three so I could also enjoy a cup of soup. Just a thought.
Disclaimer: As part of the Foodbuzz Tastemaker program I was given a gift card to purchase the soup. All opinions expressed are my own.