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Say What? Pink Garlic !?! Ail Rose de Lautrec
So there I was, walking around the international food market in central Stockholm, and I saw it… huge bushels of pink garlic! There is surprisingly not much information on Pink Garlic in English online but search “L‘Ail Rose” (French) and you will get some pages you can scrimmage through…. Apparently this garlic has some serious history in the town of Lautrec … gotta love how serious the French can be about their ingredients!
Now, Pink Garlic is from the south of France and the new harvest is typically ready around August. The time being a couple months before that, I figured perhaps I could haggle down the price a bit…. Why? Because Pink Garlic lasts 6 to 12 months! And is harvested annually, thus making these bunches potentially old news… but no dice. The vendor saw my mouth watering over it from the start. So I took my new friends home to figure out what the big deal was with the pink stuff.
Ready to get your garlic on? Here goes….
A beautifully dense yet not overwhelming fragrance permeates the air as soon as you peel your first clove… but don’t fret, there’s a touch of sweetness to the bouquet that is more likely to pique a passerby’s appetite then to send them toward a window to crack… so instantaneously lovely in a flirty way to your eyes and nose, but what about the taste?
I have to admit, I was skeptical as to the specialties shops’ claim of pink garlic’s preferential and prized status on the grocery lists of “countless French cooks”, but after cooking with it a few times I have come to think perhaps there’s something to it. The garlic a has a wonderfully even flavor that seems to easily twist and wind itself thoroughly throughout your dish without comprising other more subtle ingredients… BUT at the same time the flavor is strong enough to satiate any garlic lover’s palate (Albeit my cloves may have been slightly stronger then younger bunches)… I was even able to make a garlic & cream sauce (with raw slices) that ended up just that, not garlic flavored cream sauce.
So in my opinion the attractiveness of the pink garlic isn’t simply in terms of it being a bit more rare or used by professionals, but more so in the fact that it both full of delectable garlic flavor but at the same time it is also easy to use with even the most delicate of flavors. Don’t believe me? Go buy some and make a garlic twist on French Onion soup… I know, straight garlic soup sounds potentially overwhelming but trust me, the pink garlic teamed with some shallot will send those onions packing!