Muir Glen Organic Classic Minestrone
This is a decent soup with plenty of finely diced vegetables, including tomatoes. Thankfully, it doesn't carry the overpowering taste of powdered garlic, only the sweetness of the vegetables. It also includes miniature penne pasta shapes, and these were a little firmer than the rest. For a brand that is so focused on all things natural (it is named after naturalist John Muir), the use of corn starch as a thickener is slightly disconcerting. It gives it a velvety quality that seems to make it a closer cousin of processed foods than an organic product.
HK$38.50, Oliver's The Delicatessen, 3/F, Prince's Building, Central
Wolfgang Puck Organic Soup Classic Minestrone
Wolfgang Puck is one of America's best-loved celebrity chefs, known for his California-inflected European cuisine. His plans for culinary world domination go beyond restaurants, as he has a line of products, including canned soup. US Department of Agriculture certified organic, with coins of baby carrot, white and green beans and large chunks of tomato and celery, the soup looks unprocessed and wholesome. The salt levels are just right and the consistency is like a home-made broth. Sadly, the taste of garlic powder is overpowering.
HK$42, ThreeSixty, 3/F, The Landmark, Central
Progresso Vegetable Classics Minestrone
This is a thick, creamy soup that incorporates tomato paste. The viscosity is typical of canned soups, and although the instructions say additional water isn't needed, a few tablespoons would make it less gloopy. The tomato comes through strongly, as do the distinctive flavours of dried parsley and garlic powder - the last is an assault on the senses. Green beans, peas, kidney beans, celery, potato, carrot and small penne-like pasta shapes make up the bulk of the soup, and roughly cut flecks of spinach complete this less-than-appetising combination.
HK$26.50, Oliver's The Delicatessen, 3/F, Prince's Building, Central
Amy's Organic Soups Low Fat Minestrone
Amy makes supremely chunky soup packed with ingredients, especially green peas. The potatoes seem to have broken down into the soup, making it extra thick, and the spiral pasta adds to the bulk, making it a hearty meal in itself. It's not all about the heaviness, as there's also a slightly tanginess from the tomato broth. The aroma of herbs is present but not overbearing. Don't let the 'low fat' labelling deter you: how anyone thinks a vegetable soup can be high in fat is beyond me. The result is a feeling of nourishment - perfect for a lazy, curl-on-couch session on a chilly winter night.
HK$29, city'super, citywide
Le Piagge Le Zuppe Toscane Minestrone
The only soup that's not in a can - and all the better for it. Certified organic by Italy's Ethical and Environmental Certification Institute, it's easily the best of the lot, with large chunks of potato and carrots in a herbaceous broth, and a generous helping of kidney beans. More potato would have given it more balance, making it perfect for a light supper. Nonetheless, the generous amounts of cabbage and fresh, clean flavours make it the closest you can get to a home-made soup. The instructions call for the addition of water, but that would dilute this light soup too much.
HK$70, city'super, citywide