In the UK at least, garlic is rarely a talking point around the dinner table, with the exception of when the host gets it wrong! However, Garlic from Gascony is another matter entirely...
When the topic turns to French cuisine, cheeses synonymous with France such as camembert or brie rarely escape the conversation, as is often the case with the fantastic sauvignon blanc that one of the guests shared with a close friend last year.
The garlic we hastily buy in the supermarket does this 'superfood' little justice but if we look a little deeper into one of Gascony's hidden treasures, we see that there's certainly more than meets the palette.
The Gascony region of South West France plays host to one of the most picturesque landscapes in Europe and for this and many other reasons is certainly growing in popularity as a tourist destination. Those who have the pleasure of speaking to a local 'Gascon' will hear of the region's famous douceur de vivre (sweetness of life).
As far as garlic is concerned, the mild, wet winters, frequent showers in the warm spring, and hot, dry summers that continue into late autumn, all make for an ideal climate. This climate, along with the attention, patience and skill afforded by local growers lead to the production of a versatile, robust and unique addition to any chef's arsenal.
GASCONY GARLIC VS OTHERS
Fine white garlic from Gascony interacts with not only our taste buds, but indeed all five of our senses:
Appearance: Full-bodied with generously curved and well-defined cloves in the bulb. The skin colour is white with a pearly sheen or lustre, like fine porcelain.
Touch: The bulb or a single clove has weight and solidity in the palm of one's hand giving the feeling of density and firmness.
Hearing: When rubbed, the dried shoots, braided into tresses, give off a dry rustle like the crackle of old wood burning in a fire.
Smell: When a clove is opened and rubbed, the classic pungent smell of garlic is combined with a slightly woody, smoky aroma.
Taste: Eaten raw, soon after harvest, the flavour is complex, pungent and powerful. Kept in a cool, dry place and then used in cooking, the taste becomes less powerful but has increased softness and subtlety. Roasted garlic is sensational!
GARLIC IN OUR DIET
Garlic itself has been found to carry many health benefits such as stimulation of the immune system and cholesterol control to name just a few. Adding Gascony Garlic to a dinner party makes for both wonderful flavour and conversation!
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