Less than an hour’s drive from the Capital of Silicon Valley* is the Garlic Capital of the World – Gilroy. Gilroy and garlic are almost synonymous. Gilroy, California is known for its garlic cultivation, garlic processing and its famous Garlic Festival that takes place in the summer.
Come last weekend of July and the city gets all set to welcome crowds from all over and treat them to all things Garlic. Last year we thought of the festival ahead of time, then missed it when it came. This time around we made it to the Gilroy Garlic Festival and returned impressed by the event, its magnitude, its organisation, the spread of garlicky dishes, processed garlic and all the fanfare that comes with it.
The event which first took place in the summer of 79, is said to be an initiative to raise funds for local non-profit organisations. Since then it has been growing bigger and better and has become an event that brings together the residents of Gilroy and attracts visitors from all over the country.
The 34th Garlic Festival that just wound up, took place at Christmas Hill Park in Gilroy, and featured all kinds of food, music and wine, arts and crafts, a children’s play area and everything that a summer event is supposed to have. But it was obviously the the garlic-based foods that pulled the crowds toward this gourmet event.
There were garlic cook-offs too.
We treated our garlic-loving palates to some Garlic French Fries, Garlic battered Shrimp, Garlic Bread and Garlic Chicken over rice (Thai). We thought we’d try the must-have garlic ice cream for dessert but were too full for it. Sad! However, I know there a few other places in Gilroy that sell Garlic ice cream, so I will have to check it out sometime soon; hopefully this summer itself.
*San Jose, California
Also see: pictures from the 100th Alameda County Fair