Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Review: Toronto Garlic Festival

Years ago I found a flier for a garlic festival. It was placed on the refrigerator and marked on the calender. I looked forward to it for months but as the date approached I realized that I would be unable to attend. I originally thought I would be unable to attend this years Garlic Festival so I was elated when plans changed and I was available for the festival. I was so pumped that I sang 'GARLIC FESTIVAL. GAR-LIC FEEEESTIVAL' for an hour. My husband was less than impressed – both with my singing and with the overall notion of a garlic festival.

The festival was held at Evergreen Brickworks and tickets cost $10 at the door ($8 in advance). There were quite a few venders, a few food vendors, and a few fun events like talks and a garlic breath contest. The tickets are overpriced for the size, breadth, and variety of the event. I would not advise buying food tickets until (and unless) you are hungry because some food can be purchased without tickets. Additionally, the number of food venders was low and the choice was pedantic. The venders had a good variety of approaches to the garlic theme included garlic art, farmers, hot sauces, and sweets. However there were a few venders at the garlic festival that did not sell anything garlic related!

The festival was not without merit (even if it did not live up to 5 years of mental hype) because I learnt a few interesting things about garlic.

I discovered a new form of edible garlic. (pictured) When garlic reproduces it sends out edible garlic scapes. At the end of the scape is the bulbils which is edible. It can also be planted and will grow into a head of garlic. I think this form of garlic was the cheapest at the festival (some fancy types of garlic cost $5 a head!) This information, the bulbils pictured, and the garlic I bought at the festival came from Simon d Boer from Langside Farms Limited

The other interesting piece of information I gained was from Liz Lambrick of Busy Liz's Farm Shop. There were many edible products on this table, but by far the most interesting was the garlic fudge! She even told me the secret. Because it was given fairly freely I will share it with you! Make regular fudge, when the fudge is cooling squeeze a whole head of garlic into the mixture. The fudge will be hot enough to caramelize the garlic but not so hot as to cook out the flavor. The resulting garlic fudge is indescribable (but in a good way!)

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