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Pear and Cambozola Soup

(adapted from John Bishop's Cook Book)

Cool and complex, savory and sweet, light and rich--the kind of soup to be eaten slowly with closed eyes and elegant music in the background. Unfortunately, one spoonful and the impulse is to pick up the bowl and drink it down. Besides the manners issue, not a good idea...if you're watching your weight, your cholesterol, or your wallet, that is. Recommended to me by Canadian poet and novelist Jerry Newman, who says he's "crazy nutso" about it, could eat a bowl every day, and likes using different cheeses, including Parmesan. I agree on all 3 counts. Serve cold as a delicate first course to 8 people.

Garnish: a few chive pieces, crossed, and if it's springtime, one fresh violet per bowl.

In a large soup pot, melt the butter. Stir in onion, garlic, and pears and allow to sweat over medium-high heat until fragrant. Deglaze the pan with the wine, then stir in the chicken stock. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for an hour. Chop the cheese and stir in until it is completely melted into the broth. Puree, solids first. Whisk in the cream. Season with salt and pepper. Then chill in the refrigerator until cold.

When ready to serve, stir well, then ladle into bowls. Top each with a violet and a few cut pieces of chives.