Heat the olive oil in a large heavy pot over medium-high heat. Add the onions, 1 teaspoon of the Essence, the salt, pepper, and bay leaves. Cook, stirring, until the onions are just golden, 15 minutes. Add the garlic and stir for 1 minute. Add the tarragon, oregano, basil, and stock and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low. Simmer, uncovered, for 30 minutes.
Add the bread and cream. Increase the heat to medium-high and cook, whisking often, until the bread dissolves and the soup is thickened, about 10 minutes. Remove and discard the bay leaves. Using an immersion blender, or in batches in a food processor or blender, purČe the soup.† Add the cheese and adjust the seasonings to taste. Cover and keep the soup warm over very low heat.
Pour enough oil into a deep heavy pot or electric deep fryer to come halfway up the sides and heat over medium-high heat to 360?F. In batches, carefully add the tortellini to the hot oil and deep-fry, turning frequently with a long-handled slotted spoon, until golden brown, 1 to 2 minutes. Remove with the slotted spoon and drain on paper towels. Season with the remaining 1 teaspoon of Essence.
Ladle the hot soup into bowls and garnish with the fried tortellini and parsley.
Yield: 6 to 8 servings