Toronto Garlic Festival 2014

Toronto Garlic Festival 2014


I sat down recently with Peter McClusky, founder of the Toronto Garlic Festival, to talk about his upcoming book on garlic (to be released next spring). We ended up sharing what we love so much about garlic, and sharing our bemusement at some of the old attitudes towards this most cherished food, most beloved of all seasonings, the Earth Apple.


I absolutely love garlic, so much so that most things I cook are loaded with it. This is one reason I love to have company for supper; so we all end up with an equally pungent scent. Although my fear of being the smelliest person in the room is not such as once it was; McClusky assures me that thanks to changing attitudes and the ethnic diversity particular to Toronto, most young people are surprised to hear that garlic was once considered offensive. Everybody’s doing it nowadays, and you can do it, too, this Sunday at the Toronto Garlic Festival.


This garlic festival looks to truly celebrate the stinking rose. There will be things for sale, but not mass-marketed junk with big brand tie-ins. Rather, this thoughtfully designed festival is all about celebrating local growers, chefs and sellers of Ontario garlic.


Plan to be there for Brad Long of Café Belong’s cooking demonstration of Sautéed Rapini with Garlic at 1 PM.


Some of the amazing food that is going to be served at the Evergreen Brickworks this Sunday includes:


Cornmeal Crusted Ontario White Perch,

Garlicky Pickled Slaw with a Pickled Garlic Scape Tartar Sauce


Garlic Sausage with Homemade Condiments

Hogtown Charcuterie

And get this:

Dark Chocolate Skulls filled with Black Garlic

Infused Salted Caramel (aka Lestat Truffles)

Laura Slack

Black Garlic and Vietnamese Coffee Ice Cream

Tim English of the Chocolateria

(This is a limited edition: get it while you can!)



I have never been a fan of garlic in desserts, or rather the idea of garlicky desserts. But I have McClusky’s’s assurances that these sweeties will change my mind. Unfamiliar with black garlic (I was just sure it was a marketing scheme), I learned that it is a traditional ingredient in Vietnamese cuisine. And its sticky darkness is apparently reminiscent of treacle, and quite appropriate for a dessert. I’m not one to pair molasses with chocolate, but I always say try anything twice. I promise to report back on all things chocolate-garlic!


From the Toronto Garlic Festival’s website. Some of these sounds amazing:

Screenshot 2014-09-20 09.15.41



There are free garlic shots for the most daring among you, in a variety of strength and heat. After you’ve chewed on some raw cloves, you can head over the Garlic Breath contest where representatives of the Ontario Science Centre will measure your breath. Using a gas chromatograph, they will analyze the potency of your stench down to the parts-per-billion of three crucial garlic elements—Hydrogen Sulphide, Methanethiol, and Dimethyl Sulphide. Prizes soon to be announced, but surely bragging rights are enough.


If you’d like to buy Ontario garlic at the festival, you can stock up for the winter. If you’d like it by it elsewhere, you can check out the Garlic Map for hundreds of locations across the province.


If you love garlic as much as I do, and have a story about garlic’s place in your cooking, garden, family history, or any other delightful tidbits you can recall, consider sharing them with McClusky for his book. He is giving at talk at 11 AM on the history of garlic in  Ontario. If you don’t see him in person, however, he has a form online where you may share your garlic anecdotes for use in his upcoming  book.



ONE MORE THING. Traffic is going to be brutal, with Word on the Street happening the same day and extra construction projects on this weekend (yes, there’s more!). Take McClusky’s advice:




Screenshot 2014-09-20 09.17.09

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