There are purple carrots, purple potatoes, and even very very dark green peppers that look almost black – but black garlic does not exist as such in nature, and there is no garlic bulb that is black to begin with.
White, normal everyday garlic undergoes a long fermentation process at a controlled temperature to be transformed into this very original, odd-looking ingredient. It can take up to three months of aging to achieve the round, peculiar taste of a perfectly fermented black garlic bulb!
The chemical process that blackens white garlic is the same process responsible for a dark, delicious crust on well cooked bread; for this reason, black garlic has a distinctly sweet, roasted flavour that will remind you of toasted bread, biscuits, nuts or even balsamic vinegar and liquorice.
Forget the pungent smell and taste of white garlic – black garlic is very different, and way more digestible. Its cloves are actually so soft, that you can even spread it on a slice of bread.
As it has such a peculiar flavour and texture, though, black garlic is an ingredient original enough to be the true star of the dish. Try cooking a simple risotto with onions, Parmesan, black garlic and little else; you’ll be truly impressed with how much character this fermented beauty can add to your preparations. You can find our recipe here: Black Garlic Risotto
We’ve also tested black garlic against more traditional, strong flavours, like cured jowl bacon and baked tomatoes. We’re happy to confirm that black garlic comes nicely through even when paired with such intense ingredients. Our Spaghetti with Baked Tomatoes, Black Garlic and Guanciale would not be the same without it!
Should you need a final reason to give black garlic a chance, let us mention that it is incredibly healthy. The fermentation process leads to an antioxidants content that is almost double the one of raw, white garlic. Black garlic is also believed to lower cholesterol – although we obviously recommend you to contact your doctor for more information on the matter.
And now that we’ve convinced you, where can you purchase black garlic? This unusual ingredient has been used for a long time in Korea and Thailand, but nowadays it can be found in the US and Europe, as well. Did you know that there’s even an Italian variety of black garlic that has been granted the Protected Designation of Origin status? We’re talking about the Aglio Nero da Aglio di Voghiera DOP.