It was an innocent enough afternoon — merriment abound on the way to the beach with family, when the undisputed scent of garlic wafted into the car, first like a gentle breeze and then as if someone had been cooking a feast of garlic chicken in the trunk.
Gilroy, the “garlic capital of the world”, boasts its Garlic supply at the annual Garlic Festival in the summer and their bulbous garlic fields scattered throughout the town the rest of the year. My husband spared a quick glance at the GPS and uttered a sentence that would solidify my ambivalence towards gimmicky foods for the rest of the year.
“Do you want to try garlic ice cream?”
And so, in the winter-spring California heat, we stepped out from the car into Garlic world (a real shop). A cursory browse through the aisles revealed nothing out of the ordinary for a town known for its garlic: garlic cookies, garlic chips, dried garlic, pickled garlic, garlic mustard, jarred garlic, fresh garlic, and coffee. And next to the cashier laid our target: the infamous freezer of ice cream.
There was more than one flavor.
Regular garlic ice cream. Chocolate garlic ice cream. I feared to know what other concoctions too much time and an impish fancy for mayhem can create.
My sister, of course, chose the chocolate garlic ice cream. The rest of us indulged in a small container of vanilla ice cream, and after grabbing some spoons, I took a small bite and waited for doom.
It wasn’t that bad. It tasted like regular $2 vanilla ice cream — and then it transformed into what I imagine garlic liquified and sitting outside for a few days would taste like. A cacophony of offending smells assaulted my nose with the fervor of bees. My mom blinked, wondering why perfectly grown garlic would be added in icecream when it could be used for chicken korma. My sister shrugged. My husband went on to try the garlic cookies. In the distance, sirens.
Anyway. If you’re near Gilroy and like to make your stomach digest itself as a hobby, I recommend it.