This should really be part of our 2019 Plants that we love but we have four garlic varieties here and they were planted in 2018. Garlic like tomatoes has different strains and hundreds of varieties. Unfortunately for the most part the only garlic sold in stores and in markets tends to be a hot white porcelain variety of garlic. Garlic has a heat scale like peppers and like peppers some garlic can be eaten raw it is so mild and then there are other varieties that are super hot and everything in between. The flavors also vary wildly just like tomatoes and peppers.
All that said I want to highlight the four varieties we planted for 2019 (in 2018). It takes a long time to grow garlic (around 9 months) it doesn’t like weeds and on top of all that it wants slutty delicious sweet soil. But it’s worth it and you can always pull some early to use as “green garlic.” One more thing… The four garlics here are all on the mild side. I believe using a milder garlic (heat wise) allows the more sophisticated and rounder flavors that garlics like these to shine. A few of them can be eaten raw they are so mild.
CUBAN PURPLE GARLIC
Cuban Purple is one of those mild tasting garlics I was talking about at the beginning of this article. It is very dark purple almost black at times. It has an earthy flavor and because it is not hot it makes a great pesto and is excellent on pizza. It lacks that hot metallic flavor that ruins pizza when it has fresh garlic on it. Because of it’s mild flavor it is also great in salsa. The mildness of it allows the round earthy garlic flavor to shine through to create a complex bottom note in your salsas.
ROSE DE LAUTREC
Rose De Lautrec is a step up on the spicy scale (maybe a 4/10). If you have ever traveled to Avignon or any where in Provence then you have tasted this seductive garlic. It like the Cuban Purple is also beautiful but the Rose is very long storing so you can count on it lasting until you get your next harvest. The heat from it is reminiscent of a fine Dijon Mustard (e.g. Edmond Fallot or Maille).
Creole Red is similar to Burgundy but is more pungent and has a sweet flavor reminiscent of shallots. Roux Dumaine is using Creole Red in their fermented hot sauces. We love garlic in our fermented hot sauces but the traditional hot white porcelain varieties add too much punch and one note flavors. Creole Red like the other ones listed here are garlics for people who thought they hated garlic.
This might be the most beautiful garlic in the world but the other three highlighted here are strong contenders. Burgundy has a mellow heat that will not dominate the other ingredients in your recipes so you can use it without worrying about “over doing it” with the garlic.