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I am hosting my 7th annual soup swap this month and – like everything these days – it’s looking a little different thanks to the pandemic. Since we can’t gather in person, we’re pivoting to a virtual soup swap.
While it’s definitely not my first choice of party format, the point of the soup swap has always been togetherness. It’s a time to catch up with each other and share some comfort – in warm bowls and warm words. And that can absolutely be done from a distance!
- How do you host a virtual soup swap?
- What is different from an in-person soup swap?
- What do you do on the soup swap video chat?
- What is included in a soup swap kit?
- What else can you do at a virtual soup swap?
- Can you host a virtual soup swap with people who aren’t local?
- My best soup swap tips
How to host a Virtual Soup Swap
Hosting a virtual soup swap is really easy – easier than hosting one in person because there’s no cleaning or extra food prep involved! Your main job as host will be facilitator.
First thing’s first: you’ll want to pick a date and send out invitations. This is best done 2-3 weeks in advance so people have plenty of time to decide on a soup and make it!
I’m keeping the guest list very local this year so after people RSVP yes, I’ll be dropping off a “soup swap kit” for them. You can see what’s in them below. This is not at all essential to making the soup swap run well – but it is fun!
On the day of the soup swap everyone drops off their soups to the host. How much soup? Well, that’s up to you. For this year, we went with 3 quarts. I always recommend soups be frozen because they transport much easier that way. If you have enough freezer space, you can collect soups a few days in advance, too! Looking for recipes? I’ve been collecting my favorite ideas on Pinterest.
The main event is held via video chat! Instead of our usual tasting, we’ll be doing a “telling of the soup”. Everyone will get a chance to tell about their soup and others will get a chance to ask questions too! Then we’ll pick our soups draft-style, like we usually do.
Afterwards, the hosts sorts everyone’s picks and delivers their soups to their doorsteps or facilitates pickups.
What is different between a virtual and in-person soup swap?
Besides not getting to hug each other, the big difference is forgoing soup sampling. As part of the swap, we always warm up everyone’s soups, try them all, and vote on the winners. We’re skipping the sampling and voting this year because it would be a beast to coordinate virtually – but we’re looking forward to doing them again next year!
What do you do on the soup swap video chat?
Honestly? Chat a lot. When you get us all together, even virtually, we can’t help it!
But, the main point of the video chat is to tell each other about the soups. It’s a time to share stories, recipe sources, methods, and ingredients. In lieu of tasting, this is how we’ll be deciding which votes we’ll want to claim in the soup draft.
The soup draft is the other key part of the video chat. At a soup swap we pick our soups draft style. Everyone gets assigned a number. Number one picks first, two picks second, etc. – then we reverse and the person who picked last picks first. We continue until all the soups have been claimed.
What is in a soup swap kit?
To make the whole event seem a little more special, I put together a little kit of soup swap kit essentials for everyone that RSVP’d yes and dropped them off ahead of the swap.
- Quart containers for the soup
- Freezer labels to label the containers
- A sheet for keeping track of soup notes and what gets drafted (free printable!)
- A scratch off to reveal draft position
- A small favor – in this case, wooden spoons!
Can you do a virtual soup swap with people who aren’t local to you?
Of course – but you’ll have to get creative! If you aren’t close enough to physically swap soup, trying doing a soup recipe exchange instead. People could mail recipe cards of their favorite soup to all participants or you could jump on a video chat and try to convince everyone to make your favorite soup!
You could also vote on a recipe to do a group cook-along for. Make your soup together via video chat and then catch up while you enjoy eating it!
What else can you do at a virtual soup swap?
If you’d like to add more to your soup swap, a cook-a-long is a great option! Pick an easy soup recipe and have everyone make it together – you can even deliver key ingredients or spices as part of the soup swap kit. Or, instead of soup, make an easy accompaniment to go along with the soup like a cracker or quick bread.
Or, play a game! You could do some soup-related trivia or make up some soup-related Scattergories categories!
My best soup swap tips
Our annual soup swap is something I look forward to every year. With 6 years under my belt, I have a good feel for how to make things run smoothly. Here are my best tips:
- Have people freeze their soups! This makes them so much easier to transport.
- Make sure the soups are labeled! This is especially important for a virtual event because not everyone will be around to help you decipher mystery containers.
- If you have someone with special dietary concerns, consider giving them an automatic first pick in the soup draft. That way, they’re guaranteed to get at least one soup that works for them!
- Relax and enjoy – remember, the point of all of this is not to have a flawless event, it’s to enjoy each other’s company. We’ve already learned over the past year that things never go as planned so lean in and have fun no matter what happens.
Looking to host an in-person soup swap? You can check out my guide here.