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Garlic Celebrated At 11th Annual Garden State Garlic Gathering & Italian Festival At Olde Lafayette Village

Jennifer Jean Miller

Monday, October 8, 2012 • 10:32pm

 

LAFAYETTE, NJ – Garlic, also fondly known as “the stinking rose,” was out in full force in many forms this past Saturday and Sunday at Olde Lafayette Village’s 11th Annual Garden State Garlic Gathering & Italian Festival.

From whole Roasted Garlic, to Sliced Garlic for taste testing, to Garlic Infused Vinegars, to Garlic Salts, and even desserts highlighted with Garlic touches, the hint of Garlic permeated the air, drifting alongside of the sounds of the musical entertainment at the festival (Mike Lawlor Banned, The Fantasia Project, and The Hit Men, were some of the acts).

Complementing the garlic, in addition to the music, was a Wine and Beer Garden. Cava Winery, and Ventimiglia Vineyard tended to the wine drinkers, while NJ Brewery demonstrated how to brew beer at home. Garlic Hummus with Chips, and Garlic Sloppy Joes were available inside the Wine and Beer Garden.

And for those who sought a diversion from Garlic, there were vendors also peddling Empanadas, Hot Dogs, Hamburgers, Philly Cheesesteak Sandwiches, and fresh-squeezed Lemonade.

“A lot of people just think ‘supermarket garlic,’” said Susan Sisti from Catalpa Ridge Farm in Wantage. “We have 15 varieties to taste.”

Sisti oversaw the educational display in the area marked “Great Hall of Garlic Knowledge,” created by the Garden State Garlic Growers, which provided information to visitors if they wanted to learn more about the “stinking rose.”

Visitors were able to vote on their favorite garlic varieties, and the “People’s Choice for Garlic,” was announced for the first day on Saturday. Sunday and overall totals were tabulated at the conclusion of the event.

Types of sliced whole Garlic to sample included: Brown Tempest, Chesnok Red, Czech Red, Elephant, French Red, German Red, German White, Inchellium, Italian Purple, Italian Red, Italian White, Music, Ozard, Porcelain, Spanish Roja, Turkish Red, and Ukrainian Red.

Results were as follows:

Saturday

First Place – German White

Second Place – Music

Third Place – Italian Red

Fourth Place – German Red and Italian Purple (tied)

 

Sunday

First Place – German White

Second Place – Ukrainian Red

Third Place – Spanish Roja

Fourth Place – Ozark

 

Overall

First Place  – German White

Second Place – Ukrainian Red

Third Place – Music

Fourth Place – Italian Red

 

When asked if Garlic was a main staple for their farm, Sisti said, “Our main focus is growing for our CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) Members. We grow Garlic for special events.”

One of those special events is the Hoboken Garlic Festival the farm will be participating in next weekend.

Sisti said Garlic can be grown anywhere, and this is the time of year it is planted, with harvesting in July.

Sisti said Gilroy, Calif., however, is known as the “Garlic Capital of the World.”

Other Garlic items on display in the educational area for tasting were: Garlic Dips, Pestos, and Honeys.

Max and Mary Rueda of Mine Hill, N.J., were two of the visitors to the event, who stopped by for the tasting. Friends had invited them to the event.

The couple typically works as Pirate Re-enactors on the weekends, having just wrapped up the New York Renaissance Faire on September 23.

‘We just happened to have a free Sunday to check it out,” said Max Rueda.

“Everything’s great,” Mary Rueda added. “The wine tasting, the garlic tasting; it woke up my taste buds.”

Mary Rueda commented about the “Red Garlics” specifically.

“Anything with 'red' in the name is going to have a lot more bite,” said Sisti.

Sisti said when people ask what “the best” type of Garlics are, she replies, “Everybody’s taste buds are different, that’s why we cut it up for you, and let you decide.”

Throughout the center of the village, were Garlic offerings of all kinds.

Everything Homemade Pastry Shop & Café served up two types of soup: Roasted Garlic, and Garlic Minestrone. They additionally doled out Asiago Garlic Bread, Garlic Mashed Potatoes, and whole Roasted Garlic.

Not enough Garlic with the entrees? Then why not finish up with a garlicky dessert? Everything Homemade prepared Garlic Brownies, and Garlic Rice Pudding.

“Everything’s baked from scratch,” said the establishment’s head baker, Laura Gasperino.

She explained the process of creating Garlic Brownies, which included making a Garlic Paste, and then adding a coarse salt to the mix for a “savory flavor.” For the Rice Pudding, Gasperino whipped up a liquid Garlic Paste.

“We can’t keep it [the Garlic Rice Pudding], it’s selling like crazy,” said Margie Mills, Everything Homemade’s Special Events Coordinator.

The Rice Pudding was creamy and sweet, with a gentle hint of Garlic that would wind its way on each person’s taste buds at the finale of each spoonful.

“We have people who are skeptical then they become the biggest fans, and they come back to take some home,” Mills added.

Mills and Gasperino said the Garlic menu items would not be offered on a regular basis in the café, but could be special ordered.

Chocolate Parfait, Olde Lafayette Village’s chocolate, and ice cream shop advertised “Garlic Ice Cream,” outside on a sandwich board.

“You can only buy this once a year,” said Jeff Williams, who was scooping out quart-sized containers patrons requested to tote home.

Garlic Ice Cream offered delicate sweetness, blended with subtle Garlic and Herb flavors, as well as small pieces of Chives introduced into Vanilla Ice Cream.

Williams, and his wife Tracy, who owns the store, had plowed through their final two-and-a-half gallon container, before the end of the festival on Sunday.

“A lot of people say they’d like to put it on hamburgers, or use it as a dip,” said Jeff Williams, as he was scooping the last few bites into a cup of ice cream to eat, and one to go, for Ken O’Neill, who visited Sussex County from Hoboken, N.J.

“We went up to Hardyston, and we looked into something else to do,” said O’Neill.

There are plenty more activities to do at Olde Lafayette Village through the end of the year. On Sunday, October 21 is the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF) Walk to Cure Diabetes; Friday, October 26 is Trick or Treating for children; Saturday, October 27 is the “Strut Your Mutt,” Halloween Pet Parade; Saturday, November 10 through Tuesday, November 13 is the Carol Decker Wildlife Weekend Art Show and Sale; Thursday, December 26 through Sunday, December 16 is the Holiday Festival of Trees; and, Friday, November 23, the village’s annual Holiday Tree Lighting. Click here for further details on these upcoming events.

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