I love walking through the neighborhood farmers’ market during a basil tasting or heirloom tomato tasting. But, garlic? I recently came upon a stand for Plum Granny Farm at the Krankie’s market downtown. Their bounty included unique heads of heirloom garlic in various shades of sandy white and light violet. Each of the dozen varieties had a little explanation with it: “Good in marinades” “strong bite” or “perfect for roasting.”
I inquired about heirloom garlic with the farmer, who insisted that a garlic tasting is the only way to truly appreciate the difference between the garlics. So I bought four (and probably already screwed up the names):
1. Inchellium Red
2. Lortz Italian
The next weekend, I was in the mountains and decided I should test the special garlic. Instead of trying them raw, like a true garlic connoisseur, I roasted two cloves from each on a dry pan over medium-high heat. When each clove’s skin was thoroughly charred and the clove soft, I knew they were done. I smeared each clove on a piece of toasted bread drizzled with EVOO and sprinkled with salt.
Truly, you can tell a difference! Some garlic is very hot to the taste, overwhelming the senses. Others, like the “Music” are soft and buttery, with such a sweet and mellow flavor. After a few bites of each toast, we threw some pieces of heirloom tomato and basil on each and called it lunch.
I won’t say that I’ll seek out heirloom garlic for my next recipe, but it was fun to taste different flavors of something I considered all the same.
Oh, and if you want to host your own tasting, I recommend doing it at a remote mountain cabin, where nobody outside has to smell you! Enjoy, friends xoxo