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August 02, 2009
Black is the new black, even in the kitchen.
One of the biggest crowds at this Summer's International Fancy Foods Show could be found clustered around the booth of a company promoting a relatively new product - black garlic .
Despite the item's long history in Korea and China, we haven't run across the product yet in BC. In the US however, particularly in the San Francisco area where a company has commenced commercial distribution, black garlic has become a bit of a fad, so we assume it won't be long before one of our local chefs takes up the challenge.
The garlic truly is inky black, the result of a month long, heated fermentation process that also renders the cloves their soft, jelly-like consistency (similar to a dried apricot) and sweeter, tangy taste. Promoters say that eaten as is, black garlic's rich earthiness makes it a good partner with any food or beverage that you would normally pair with a strong cheese, such as pizza or a glass of Cabernet Sauvignon.
And the good news is ... the processing does the garlic, and you, no harm at all. In fact, black garlic has twice as many antioxidants as raw garlic, (it contains S-Allycysteine, a compound proving to be a factor in cancer prevention), and yet without raw garlic's famous nasty side effects of odour and acrid bite. The company even makes a health drink from raw garlic juice, but having tried it, we'd say that particular byproduct is definitely an acquired taste.
Getting back to cooking applications ... you can see a list of chef's recipes on this website . The promo literature shows it as a condiment for roasted bananas. Which we wouldn't have thought of, but now that we have ... yes, that would probably work well too. No doubt it's one of those culinary items that will stretch as far as your imagination can.