Ask the Cook: Where Can I Buy Black Garlic?
This week's question: Where can I find Black Garlic?
Black garlic has been touted as a top food trend and a super health food, and it's been featured on Top Chef and Iron Chef episodes. Yet it remains an obscure ingredient, not easily sourced even at specialty food stores or Asian markets in Phoenix.
I first tasted it at the 2010 Specialty Food Show in San Francisco this past January.
|Black Garlic Inc|
I discovered black garlic is actually not an ancient ingredient, although fermented garlic has been used in Korean cuisine, and widely valued for potential health benefits. Those benefits have yet to be scientifically proven; studies are in the works.
The process used by the American producer Black Garlic Inc. was developed by owner Scott Kim. Creating black garlic involves four stages and results in whole black garlic heads as well as black garlic powder, juice, and paste.
Kim's garlic heads come from California and South Korea. He ferments the garlic for three weeks in a (secret) machine he developed, using high heat and controlled humidity. The garlic is then set out to dry in a controlled environment for one week prior to packaging for sale.
|Black Garlic Inc|
|Black Garlic Head|
Tasting black garlic was a surprise. The bitter notes found in raw garlic are absent. The black garlic has an earthy, mild, fruity quality. The consistency is soft; it is surprisily sweet and slightly sticky. On my tongue, it was reminiscent of aged balsamic vinegar that has been reduced, with an added hint of molasses. Black garlic has that fifth dimension of taste, unami.
So where can you get it?
Sadly, not around here -- at least, not that I've found.
Black garlic can be ordered on-line.
It's an ingredient that can easily be applied to add flavor and dimension to a dish. Simply using it as a topping it on a bruschetta is a great introduction. Find recipes and where to order on Black Garlic Inc's website.
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