Vermont garlic lovers look West today toward California. It is opening day of the 2011 Gilroy Garlic Festival! Vermont has plenty of great food festivals, but none quite as spectacular as the Gilroy Garlic Festival.
While France’s La Fête de l’Ail Rose de Lautrec (Festival of the Pink Garlic) claims to be the oldest garlic festival, it started in 1959, Gilroy’s festival is by far the largest. Huddle.com recognizes the Gilroy as one of the largest festivals in the world. Gilroy Foods processes more garlic than any other factory in the world, so this is not that big of a stretch.
The big sponsor of the Gilory Festival this year is Scope! Though Scope’s minty freshness predates the Gilroy Festival by about 10 years, Proctor & Gamble did not invent mouthwash. The first evidence of fresh breath dates back to 1000 BC. Ancient Egyptians, Greeks and Romans chewed on eucalyptus, peppermint, cinnamon and vanilla beans. 500 years later, the Chinese upgraded to powdered charcoal and bark for fresh breath, later they added mint.
It wasn’t until the discovery of bacteria that mouthwashes contained added antiseptics. Initially vinegar was used, then ammonia became popular (some sources say human urine was used as a breath freshener). These days, alcohol is the antiseptic of choice for minty-fresh breath. But wait! Garlic has antiseptic properties! Maybe Scope is on to something big.
If you can’t make it to California this week to taste sweet garlic and enjoy fresh breath, here are some Garlic Festivals in and around Vermont:
Vermont Stinks – September 3 & 4, Bennington, VT
Hudson Valley Garlic Festival – September 24 & 25, Saugerties, NY
Perth Garlic Festival – August 13 & 14, Perth Ontario
And if you can’t wait until August or September to spice up your life, this garlic recipe could certainly spice up your Fourth of July: Grilled Clams with Fried Garlic
image credit: www.telegraph.co.uk