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Bisque is a dish with centuries of history and an altogether unique, savory profile. It's origins can be traced back to the French fishing port of the same name, from where it gets its moniker; however, today it is enjoyed in kitchens around the world.


Bisque is a thick, creamy soup, often made with seafood such as lobster or crab. The dish is made with a velvety puree of roasted shellfish and vegetables, blended together until it creates a luxurious texture and intense flavor. This is further enriched by the addition of cream, rice, spices, and herbs. The result is a luscious, decadent dish that is sure to tantalize the taste buds.

But, what truly sets bisque apart from other soups is how it can incorporate multiple layers of flavor. Depending on the ingredients used, a successful bisque can feature a wide range of flavors, from rich umami notes found in the roasted seafood, to fragrant herbal undertones from the added herbs and spices. This complexity is what makes it so special, and so uniquely satisfying.

The best way to experience a bisque for yourself is to prepare it at home. There are countless recipes available online, or you can experiment and create your own signature blend of ingredients. And, once you get the hang of making it, you can even take it a step further and add a velouté sauce, or a lacing of cognac to really bring out the wonderful flavors in the dish.

Whichever way you choose to make it, one thing is certain: bisque is a timeless, delectable dish that will never fail to delight the palate.

The origin of Bisque

Bisque - an exquisitely savory, creamy seafood soup - is one of the most beloved dishes in French cuisine. It's a dish that has grown in popularity around the world over the centuries and yet, its origin remains shrouded in mystery.

The first written record of what we now call bisque dates back to the 16th century, when references to "biscay" appeared in gastronomic recipes from Languedoc, a region of southern France. Conventional wisdom holds that the name "bisque" originated from the langue d’oc dialect, the regional language of the area. The name originally meant to “shell out” or “break apart” something – an apt description for a hearty stew made with shellfish such as lobster, crab, and shrimp.

Some scholars contend that bisque can be traced even further back, to the period of Middle Age banquets in Europe, when aristocrats served elaborate dishes that featured seafood such as lamprey and sturgeon. These opulent feasts were often accompanied by crustaceans, including crayfish and shrimp, which were cooked into rich soups that some believe could be considered the original forerunners to modern-day bisque.

Over time, the recipe for bisque evolved. By the 18th century, it had become a staple of French cuisine, with cookbooks of the era often featuring variations on the traditional bisque recipe. While the original version was almost certainly quite different from the versions that are served today, it was still cream-based and made with seafood.

Though its exact origins remain a subject of much speculation, one thing is for certain: the exquisite appeal of bisque has endured for centuries and looks set to continue for many more. Thanks to its luxurious taste and ingredients, bisque continues to be one of the most beloved dishes of France – and the world.

FAQs about Bisque

What does bisque mean?

Bisque is a smooth, creamy soup, typically made of pureed seafood, vegetables, or fruits. It can also refer to a dessert made of baked custard and fruit.

What makes a bisque a bisque?

A bisque is a thick and creamy soup typically made with a base of pureed shellfish and aromatic vegetables. The pureed seafood, usually lobster, crab, or shrimp, gives the soup its unique bisque flavor. Other ingredients commonly used in bisques include onions, celery, carrots, garlic, and tomatoes. Finally, the soup is traditionally finished with a dash of sherry for extra depth of flavor.

What makes a bisque different from soup?

A bisque is a type of soup that typically contains creamy or puréed ingredients, such as shellfish and vegetables. Bisque usually has a thicker, richer texture than other soups, and often includes cream as an ingredient. It may also be served topped with croutons, bacon, or cheese.

Why is it called bisque?

Bisque is a creamy, smooth soup that is traditionally made with shellfish. The name is said to come from the French word for "two" (bis) because it was originally made from the strained liquid from a first and second boiling of the shells of crabs, lobsters and other crustaceans.

Types of Bisque

If you love the feeling of a rich, creamy soup gracing your tastebuds with its decadent flavour, then Bisque is definitely a dish that should be at the top of your epicurean list. From the basic crab or lobster bisque to the more out-of-the-ordinary pineapple bisque, these luxurious soups bring an array of delightful options to the table.

The simplest definition of bisque is a thick and creamy seafood soup, typically made with pureed seafood like crab or lobster and flavoured with herbs and spices. However, this is only the beginning when it comes to exploring the wonderful world of bisques. In modern times, bisque can be based on many other ingredients such as vegetables, meats, fruits and even nuts. Many chefs have been known to also add various types of wines, cheeses and other exotic ingredients to create a truly unique flavour combination.

For those looking for something truly special, a great option is a pineapple bisque. This uniquely delicious dish combines the sweetness of ripe pineapple with the complexity of subtle spices, like turmeric and cayenne, to create a truly extraordinary culinary experience. The end result is a velvety smooth soup that is both unique and delicious.

Are you a fan of something a bit more savoury? Then why not try a tomato bisque. One of the oldest bisque variations, tomato bisque combines the deep richness of slow cooked tomatoes with garlic, onions, basil and a hint of nutmeg to create a classic flavour that is sure to please.

For the seafood lovers, a classic lobster bisque is definitely the way to go. With its deep flavour and rich texture, this bisque stands out from the rest by using plump, succulent lobster shells, simmered for hours with cream, sherry and a variety of herbs and spices. The result is a luxurious soup that will have you coming back for more.

No matter what you are in the mood for, there is a bisque perfect for any occasion. So why not take some time to explore the wonderful world of bisques and see if you can discover a new favourite flavour!