Black Garlic Properties

•April 28, 2010 • Leave a Comment

This blog is rather technical. It lists the properties of black garlic.

> 18 essential  amino acids. Isoleucine, Leucine, Lysine, Methionine, Cystine
Phenylalanine, Tyrosine, L-hydroxybutyrate, Tryptophan, Serine, Proline, Glycine
Glutamine, Aspargine, Alanine, Arginine, Histidine, Valine.

>Vitamins B-1, B-2, B-6, C and E,

> Super Oxide Dismutase, (SOD)
> S-Alylcisteine  (SAC)

> Prostaglandins E1  This series of prostaglandins relax blood vessels, improve circulation,
lower blood pressure, decrease inflammation, improve nerve function, regulate calcium
metabolism, improve T-cell function, may be beneficial for some patients with erectile
dysfunction and lastly, prevent the release of something called “arachidonic acid” from
cells. Arachidonic acid, or AA, is what Series 2 prostaglandins, or the “bad”
prostaglandins, are made from.

> Fructan, Fructans are polymers of fructose and are naturally produced by 15%
of flowering plant species and consist of inulin and other selected vegetable fibers.

They are known to strengthen the immune system support a healthy circulatory (blood)
system in that they lower total cholesterol in the blood, lower low-density lipoproteins
(LDL), and lower triglycerides, while raising high-density lipoproteins (HDL). Research has
shown shrinkage of cancerous tumors, and blood diseases.

Fructans have established their efficacy in decreasing cancers of the colon. They do not
require insulin for digestion and therefore do not produce an energy depression before or
after digestion as sucrose and glucose. Hyperglycemia inhibitor when taken to replace the
natural conventional sugars due to the absence of blood-glucose spikes, and have sixty-two
and one-half percent (62.5%) fewer calories than other carbohydrates such as starches,
fructose, glucose, and sucrose.

Fermentation by the human colonic microflora leads to a shift in the composition of the indigenous
bacterial ecosystem, in favor of health-promoting bifidobacteria. In addition to their dietary fibre
effects on improved bowel regularity, several physiological advantages are linked to their specific
Pattern of fermentation in the colon, including improved mineral absorption, enhanced natural
host defenses and colonic protection, improved gut health, and beneficial influence on
appetite regulation.

> Pectin,  Pectin has demonstrated unique properties in blocking cancer cell aggregation, adhesion
and metastasis. Clinical research shows that pectin helps limit disease progression in men with
advanced prostate cancer. In addition to its cancer-inhibiting effects, pectin shows promise in
chelating toxic heavy metals that can be so damaging to overall health.

> Essential garlic oil, Data gathered from studies by the scientific community prove beyond doubt
that garlic oil lowers blood pressure, lowers LDL Cholesterol, Garlic helps reduce atherosclerotic buildup
(plaque) within the arterial system. One recent study shows this effect to be greater in women than men.
Lowers or helps regulate blood sugar, helps to prevent blood clots from forming, thus reducing the
possibility of strokes and thromboses. Helps thin the blood. Hemophiliacs shouldn’t use garlic.

Garlic oil aids in cancer prevention, especially of the digestive system, prevents certain tumors from
growing larger and reduces the size of certain tumors. Garlic in all forms may help to remove heavy metals
such as lead and mercury from the body. It is a potent natural antibiotic that works differently than
“Modern” antibiotics and kills some strains of bacteria, like staph, that have become immune or resistant
to pharmaceutical antibiotics. Garlic has anti-fungal and anti-viral properties. Garlic oil dramatically reduces
yeast infections due to Candida species. Garlic has anti-oxidant properties and is a source of selenium.

> Adenosine, Adenosine is a nucleoside composed of a molecule of adenine attached to a ribose sugar
molecule (ribofuranose) moiety via a β-N9-glycosidic bond. Adenosine plays an important role in biochemical
processes, such as energy transfer—as adenosine triphosphate (ATP) and adenosine diphosphate (ADP)—
as well as in signal transduction as cyclic adenosine monophosphate, cAMP. It is also an inhibitory
neurotransmitter, believed to play a role in promoting sleep and suppressing arousal, with levels increasing
with each hour an organism is awake. Adenosine is believed to be an anti-inflammatory agent at the A(2A)
receptor. Topical treatment of adenosine to foot wounds in diabetes mellitus has been shown to drastically
increase tissue repair and reconstruction. Topical administration of adenosine for use in wound healing
deficiencies and diabetes mellitus in humans is currently under clinical investigation.

Adenosine has been reported to directly inhibit an RNA-dependent RNA polymerase of the dengue virus by
terminating its RNA chain synthesis. This suppresses peak viremia, rise in cytokines and prevented infected
animal from death raising the possibility of a new treatment for this flavivirus. The 7-deaza-adenosine
analog has been shown to inhibit the replication of the hepatitis C virus.

> Biotin, Biotin is necessary for cell growth, the production of fatty acids, and the metabolism of fats and
amino acids. It plays a role in the citric acid cycle, which is the process by which biochemical energy is
generated during aerobic respiration. Biotin not only assists in various metabolic reactions, but also helps to
transfer carbon dioxide. Biotin may also be helpful in maintaining a steady blood sugar level. Biotin is often
recommended for strengthening hair and nails.

Biotin deficiency (lack of) has shown to lead to hair loss (alopecia), Conjunctivitis, Dermatitis in the form of a scaly
red rash around the eyes, nose, mouth, and genital area. Neurological symptoms in adults such as depression,
lethargy, hallucination, and numbness and tingling of the extremities.

The characteristic facial rash, together with an unusual facial fat distribution, has been termed the
“biotin-deficient face” by some experts. Individuals with hereditary disorders of biotin deficiency have evidence
of impaired immune system function, including increased susceptibility to bacterial and fungal infections.

Pregnant women tend to have high risk of biotin deficiency. Research has shown that nearly half of pregnant
women have a reduced status of biotin. Numbers of studies reported that this possible biotin deficiency
during the pregnancy may cause infants’ congenital malformations such as cleft palate.

Biotin is effective at preventing ketolactic acidosis, organic aciduria, hyperammonemia, skin rash, feeding
problems, hypotonie, seizures, development delay, alopecia, and coma.

General symptoms of lack of Biotin in the human body include decreased appetite and growth. Dermatologic
symptoms include dermatitis, alopecia (hair loss) and achromotrichia (absence or loss of pigment in the hair),
Perosis (a shortening and thickening of bones). Fatty liver and kidney syndrome (FLKS) and hepatic steatosis
also can occur.

Children with a rare inherited metabolic disorder called phenylketonuria (PKU; in which one is unable to
break down the amino acid phenylalanine) often develop skin conditions such as eczema and seborrheic
dermatitis in areas of the body other than the scalp. The scaly skin changes that occur in people with
PKU may be related to poor ability to use biotin. Increasing dietary biotin has been known to improve
seborrheic dermatitis in these cases.

> Nicotinic acid,
> Fatty acids,
> Glycolipids,
> phospholipids,
> anthocyanins,
> flavonoids,
> phenolics,
> Steroidal glycosides,
> Lectins,

A MÃE DE TODAS AS COZINHAS

•April 17, 2010 • Leave a Comment

A MÃE DE TODAS AS COZINHAS

por Chef  OscarLippe.

Muito da culinária criativa ocidental contemporânea tida como mais sofisticada espelha-se na cozinha francesa, que em grande parte é considerada a precursora de muitos pratos e molhos, hoje tidos como base do requinte gastronômico universal. De fato, a cozinha francesa, ou “Haute Cuisine”, é relativamente nova historicamente, e deve as suas origens a outra cultura bem diferente. Mergulhemos então nas águas da historia para ver realmente a procedência da culinária ocidental nos últimos milênios,

O Império Romano herdou dos gregos e dos etruscos, a tradição culinária dos povos helênicos, que a sua vez, desenvolveram a sua cozinha aBlack Garlic News Etruscan dish partir de tradições dos seus ancestrais.

O Império Romano, ao contrario de outros povos conquistadores, absorveram os costumes dos povos conquistados, e misturando-os à sua própria cultura, assim, a culinária dos gauleses, bretões, otomanos, egípcios, fenícios, e outras centenas de povos subjugados passaram a formar parte do universo epicureo Romano. A pizza por exemplo, foi absorvida dos egípcios, que chamavam o disco de massa de farina de cevada, de “pita”, sendo possível a palavra pizza uma progressiva degeneração lingüística dos romanos que entre a soldadesca falavam grego e os centuioes latim. Aqui a gente conhece como “pão Sírio”. O fato é que os egípcios do tempo dos romanos, usavam aquela “pita” como prato, sendo uma massa dura, sem fermento, para colocar a comida a serBlack Garlic News Egyptiansconsumida com os dedos da mão direita. (a mão esquerda sendo utilizada para propósitos menos apetitosos) Após as refeições os discos de massa eram lavados e secos ao sol escaldante da África. O Egito, de clima seco e quente propiciava o uso destes utensílios.  Quando os Romanos conquistaram o Egito, passaram a comer, aquelas bolachas junto com a comida. Para desespero das donas de casa egípcias da época, a soldadesca pretoriana consumia a louça delas com as refeições. Este costume eventualmente chegou a Roma, onde diligentes cozinheiros imperiaistomaram conta de amaciar a massa, e colocar todo tipo de iguarias a ser consumidas nas tão famosas orgias romanas.

Com o declínio do Império Romano, e a chegada do Obscurantismo, a tradição da “pizza” se perdeu como prato aristocrata, somente voltando a luz, no renascimento na região de Nápoles como prato plebeu. Seja como for, as vinte republicas Italianas, a serem consolidadas mais tarde em regiões de uma Republica Única, ironicamente por um anarquista (Gisseppe Garibaldi), e um fascista (Benito Mussolini) são e sempre foramBlack Garlic News Roman orgy. photo by Espinal (TM) descendentes diretas da culinária do Império Romano, salvaguardando e claro, as particulirades de cada região. Florença, Parma, Lazio, Lombardia, Liguria, todas estas regiões tinham desenvolvido uma forma ou outra de culinária sofisticada já pelo ano 1000 D.C., Inclusive receitas de torteloni e espagete, pondo por terra a teoria que o macarrão teria sido introduzido na Itália por Marco Polo após o seu retorno do Oriente.  A propagação destas cozinhas mundo afora deu-se com casamentos políticos a partir da separação do Papismo e a própria divisao final, a criação de Contanstinopla e o Império Bizantino, e mais tarde enaltecidos os impérios pelas próprias hordas de Carlomagno. Pode-se afirmar sem medo, que a mãe de todas as cozinhas ocidentais contemporâneas é a culinária do Império Romano, e por ende da culinária Italiana.

A cozinha francesa segundo alguns conhecedores, somente começou o seu desenvolvimento, a partir do casamento de Caterina de Medici com o Rei Henrique Segundo da França, Duque de Orleans. onde, ela, tendo auscultado as cozinhas imperiais da corte do futuro marido, e te-las achado barbaricas e rústicas demais, (qualificando os cozinheiros imperiais de “porcos bárbaros”) teve a bem carregar com ela quatro anos depois um batalhão de cozinheiros florentinos, genoveses e romanos. Estes levaram para a França, receitas milenares italianas que hoje sãoBlack Garlic News Catherine de Mediciconsideradas “francesas”, vamos colocar somente alguns itens como exemplo, sendo que a lista e muito extensa. Quando a gente pensa em ometele, pensa em Paris, Oh surpresa, o omelete foi inventado por Romanos, que misturavam ovo de ganso com mel, fritavam com banha de porco, e chamavam de “Ova Melita” ou seja ovo com mel, ou se quiser ovo melado, uovo melatto ou se quiser “omelete”. Os cozinheiros de Caterina também levaram para França a massa folhada, o chantilly, e dezenas de outras bases hoje tidas como francesas. Sem ir muito longe, o famoso “petit pois” francês, foi introduzido por eles, sendo que nunca antes tinha sido usada a ervilha fresca na culinária francesa. O próprio “Baigne Marie” ou banho Maria, foi desenvolvido por uma alquimista italiana chamada Maria de Ferona em busca da Pedra Filosofal chamado de Bagno di Maria e logo usada para a elaboração de molhos delicados suscetíveis ao fogo direto. Foi a partir desta incursão dos Medici na corte francesa, que a “Haute Cuisine” foi criada, muito mais para satisfazer os gostos de uma rainha italiana do que a dos próprios franceses.

Vemos então que a partir da integração no Império Romano da culinária dos povos conquistados criou-se a culinária italiana, que emprestou a sua vez os seus segredos à culinária dos franceses, que por sua vez desenvolveram a culinária na qual as outras cozinhas ocidentais contemporâneas se espelharam.

Caribe. A CULINÁRIA DO PARAISO

•April 16, 2010 • Leave a Comment

CARIBE  A CULINÁRIA DO PARAISO

por Chef Lippe

Na manha de 5 de julho de 1989 vi pela primeira vez as majestosas montanhas da Martinica e no momento não me dei conta de quantoBlack Garlic News. Martinique este fato iria influenciar o meu universo culinário. Tinha terminado um serviço em Caracas, Venezuela e tinha duas semanas antes do meu próximo compromisso em Miami. Assim decidi embarcar num passeio de escuna pelo Caribe.

Durante os próximos anos esta área converteu-se quase numa obsessão. Nas palavras de Cristóvão Colombo tiradas de uma bitacora de viagem ele dizia: “Creio que cheguei ao Jardim do Éden. Por toda a parte vejo verdes matas com arvores cobertas de flores e frutas, tal e a quantidade de aves diferentes cantando do amanhecer ao entardecer, que as vezes o barulho fica insuportável. Ao chegar nessas terras vi tantas ilhas que realmente não soube aonde ir primeiro”.

Na realidade Cristóvão Colombo não estava exagerando. O Caribe tem mais de 7 mil ilhas espalhadas por mais de 6.200 milhas, algumas pequenas do tamanho de uma rocha saindo do mar e outras tão grandes quanto o estado do Rio de Janeiro.

Atracando em Port de France tive a oportunidade de visitar um dos tantos pequenos cafés alinhados em fileiras de casas germinadas ao longo do cais. Ali tive a minha primeira experiência gastronômica da comida caribenha. Lembro-me do pedido que fiz, Callalloo, um cozido denso de caranguejo, frutos do mar, porco desfiado numa densa sopa a base de aipim e leite de coco, tão picante que a cada colherada a testa enchia Black Garlic News. Callalloode suor.

Logo mais um enorme garcon, pesando aproximadamente 130 kg, apresentou na mesa caranguejo recheado com jaca e uma deliciosa sopa de manga, iguarias que rapidamente extinguiram o fogo do prato anterior. Bebemos o tradicional Ponche de Rum e logo mais um café de bule tão forte que seria digno rival do melhor expresso italiano.

A comida do Caribe e baseada principalmente na abundância de frutas e vegetais típicos da sua terra fértil. Goiaba, manga, abacaxi, banana de todas as denominações, maracujá, quiabo e uma coleção enorme de vegetais exóticos, impossíveis de cita-los no espaço dessa coluna.

As ilhas do Caribe sofreram vários processos migratórios com as suas correspondentes influencias culturais, étnicas e gastronômicas. Entre as tribos mais fortes de nativos (chamados de índios, erroneamente pelos espanhóis por terem acreditado chegar na Índia) encontraram-se os povos caribes e os arawak, cuja culinária era muito saudável com base na colheita simples de comida abundante na região, caca e pesca, geralmente feita na brasa. Depois vieram os espanhóis, holandeses, franceses, ingleses e os portugueses, todos eles engajados numa aferradaBlack Garlic News. Fruit vendor corrida pelas especiarias tão valiosas na Europa. Os ingleses, tradicionais inimigos marítimos dos espanhóis e portugueses, se engajavam pilhando as naves mercantes inimigas em navios piratas. A palavra em língua Caribe para carne feita na brasa era Bucano. O grande apetite dos piratas por este tipo de comida outorgou-lhes o nome de Bucaneiros, nome com o qual seriam conhecidos através da historia.

Depois vieram os escravos africanos trazendo com eles sua comida, cultura e religião, usando-as continuamente em rituais. Séculos mais tarde com a explosão da industria do açúcar e a abolição da escravatura foram importados trabalhadores mais baratos para suprir as necessidades da colheita, principalmente da China e do Oriente Médio.

Para entender a complexidade da mistura étnica e cultural do Caribe basta olhar para a historia política da região. Pela maior parte dos últimos quatro séculos e meio as Ilhas tem estado sob domínio continuo de vários poderes europeus. As vezes uma única ilha esteve dominada sucessivamente por diferentes impérios. Jamaica foi espanhola por 146 anos, depois britânica por 307 anos; Guadeloupe foi espanhola, depois britânica e francesa; St. Lucia trocou de mãos seis vezes em vinte anos. Não somente Espanha, Inglaterra e Franca, os maiores impérios coloniais da época, mas também a Holanda, Dinamarca e os Estados Unidos.

Trinidad, Tobago, Dominica, Guadeloupe, Martinica, Porto Rico, a Republica Dominicana, Curacao, Jamaica, Cuba, Haiti, Grenada, St. Vincent, Antigua, as Ilhas Virgens e outras tantas oferecem um caleidoscópio gastronômico variado e farto, que tentarei mostrar aos leitores desta coluna durante as próximas edições. Receitas de pratos como Moros e Cristianos, Silpancho, Sancocho, Akee e Brazo Jitano serão passadas de acordo com a sua raridade e importância cultural. Espero desfrute nesta viagem cultural e gastronômica a um dos lugares mais belo da Terra.

Chef Lippe

The Black Garlic Cookbook

•April 10, 2010 • Leave a Comment

Workshop #1

> The Black Garlic Cookbook

by Chef Oscar Lippe

>Black Garlic Chicken Satay

>Black Garlic Sesame Noodle Salad

>Black Garlic Linguini

>Black Garlic Stuffed Mushrooms

>Black Garlic Tequila Prawns

>Chicken Liver Black garlic Pate

>Lamb and Black Garlic Fajitas

>Poached Nectarines in Black Garlic and Amaretto syrup

>Strawberries with Black Garlic and Balsamic vinegar

Pork Fillet with Creamy Apple Sauce and Roasted Black Garlic

Entrecote with Black Garlic-Champignon Duxelle on a Port-Black Garlic reduction.

Gargantuan Banquet in the middle of the street!

•April 5, 2010 • Leave a Comment

Long Dragon Banquet of the Hani in Yunnan

‘In the southern tip of Yunnan, one of China’s southernmost provinces, we crossed the galloping Yuanjiang River, then drove among the lofty mountains of Ailao, where a vast expanse of terraced fields came into view. The terraces are spectacular, but with dark approaching, we dared not stay too long and headed to Habo Village, Ezha Town, more than 100 kilometers from the old county seat of Yuanyang. The terraces could wait, but we were destined for another of the region’s wonderful sights: the Changlong (Long-Dragon) Banquet of the Hani people.

Around the time of China’s Spring Festival, the Hanis celebrate the Yangmatu Festival in honor of their heroes and pray for the union of the Hani people and good harvests. The festival usually lasts for three days, when the locals participate in sacrificial ceremonies in the center of the village and enjoy food at a grand banquet in the middle of the street. The villagers are more than happy to welcome visitors to join them.

All family members reunite during this time, dressing up in their best clothes and rolling out their best dishes to share with neighbors at the street banquet.

In the Hani language, “Habo” means a mountain village surrounded by bamboo groves. Habo Village has retained its festive tradition for generations, and its Long-Dragon Banquet is the largest of its kind and the most representative culture of the Hani people in Yuanyang County and the Hani and Yi Prefecture in Honghe.

It took a whole day to reach Habo Village from Kunming.

We woke early the next morning to the hubbub of children, and discovered the entire village seething with excitement. Square tables were lined up in the street, hundreds of them.

“How could that be?” I wondered. “There was nothing there last night when we arrived.”

Someone said that most of the villagers had gone the whole night without sleep, preparing food and laying tables instead. There are more than 300 households in the village, and each family contributes 14 or 15 dishes and pastries, in addition to staple food and wine. Anyone visiting or passing through, known or unknown, would be invited to the banquet.

The houses in Habo were built in accordance with the terrain of the mountain, and the village showcases all styles of structures of the branches of the Hani people. The terraces encircle Habo, and beyond them to the west are more terraced mountain slopes shaped like crescent and quarter moons. The view is particularly breathtaking when the terraced fields are bathed in the light of the rising sun.

As the morning passed, the street became busier and busier. Villagers, young and old, dressed in their best, all looked happy, as the adults busied themselves with preparations and the children played games in groups.

The Long-Dragon Banquet started at noon with the thundering of drums and gongs. But nobody stirred, not until the respected elders, dressed in dark blue clothes and black scarves, were seated. The banquet began with contributions of dishes to the elders, who tasted them first. Then, people took their seats and enjoyed a feast of more than 1,000 dishes.

The Habo Long-Dragon Banquet we attended was extremely active. The length of the “dragon” of tables stretched as long as 300 meters up the slope of a mountain. The number of dishes doubled as mountain delicacies and wild delights were brought forth.

The Long-Dragon Banquet is the best of its kind for the Hani people, and no longer banquet has been found anywhere else in the world. The banquet was filled with laughter, singing, and dancing, and it was not over until the sun set.’

Accounts of a Traveler

Stop Chewing and Throw the Dice

•April 3, 2010 • Leave a Comment

STOP CHEWING AND THROW THE DICE

By Oscar Lippe

Natural, Sub, Hero, Reuben, BLT, Club, Lox and cream on bagel, Burguer, Sailor, Croque Monseur.

All these names make reference to various kinds of foodstuff compressed between two loaves of bread. The sandwich is the humblest of items at the table menu, the fastest served and eaten.

It is hard to imagine the origins of this dish – if we can call it that- given the circumstances in which it was conceived. Let us then travel through history.

Facts point to John Montagu (1718 -1792) Fourth heir to the Seal of the House of Sandwich, Lord of Sandwich, First Lord Admiral of the Royal Crown of the United Kingdom, member of the House of Lords, of the Royal Society of London, Superior Administrator of the Royal Navy, Commander General of Expeditions. Having his name adjudicated to the Sandwich Islands through the famous Capitan Cook. Plenipotentiary Ambassador to Madrid, of mad wife descendant of the House of Windsor, lover of Martha Ray, famous actress at the time, pioneer expeditionary of the North Pole, member of the Brotherhood of the Monks of Medmenham, secret sect dedicated to pleasures of the table and then some  in orgies that lasted for weeks at a time, whose membership list heralded also the likes of Benjamin Franklin, of which also participated his concubines and a considerable slice of the European aristocracy, in the caverns behind the Abbey of Medmenham in Merlow, Buckinghamshire, founded by the frays of the Cistercian Order in 1145 and abandoned in those years.

Self proclaimed libertine began a gastronomic havoc practiced to this day thanks to his addicted dedication to gambling. In the words of Rodger, his official biographer, a segment of Grosley’s Tour of London, a contemporary tour guide describes the following; “…found by chance and followed a Royal Minister for twenty-four straight hours, he that so concentrated in his drawings of luck not had more than a morsel of meat in between two loaves of toasted bread and a chalise of red wine. Custom established by him very popular amongst London nobility in nights of indulgence…”

Since Grosley’s guide does not go beyond being a relatory for tourists there is no solid proof of the veracity of this tale, British custom nevertheless adopted to present, heralded by a brand of Scottish name by irony of Fate or Divine justice.

Wait! It does not stop there. Once the disease spread it can hardly be contained. As Jeremiah Tower points out in an article of the San Francisco The Examiner in 2002, Raymond of Le Manoir de Quat’ Saissons in Oxford used pork head, boiled eggs and lobster. Or yet the famous “Rivierawich” by Alain Ducasse fresh vegeggie of the French Riviera, Anton Edelman at the Savoy with his creation of Brie cheese and okra.; Ken Horn with his combination of ginger pepper and basil. Good Lord Sandwich must certainly had approved two hundred years later Juan Maria Arzac throwing a freshly grilled steak of tuna in between two halves of rustic bread drenched in Spanish olive oil.

Be your taste what it may, here is my advice.

Next time you bite a sandwich do not forget you are chewing away on a piece of man’s gastronomic history.

Life Liberty and The Pursuit of Garlic

•April 1, 2010 • Leave a Comment

Life Liberty and The Pursuit of Garlic

By Chef Oscar Lippe

I am a cook, some call me a chef. I have been involved with food in one way or another my whole life. I can do without many things, cooking is not one of them, I have cooked in restaurant kitchens, even my own restaurant kitchens, I have helped prepare meals for ministers and dignitaries, and I have also fried fish at beach campfires. Love it all, no matter how big or small. I crave it, I need it. It sprouts from within, like a visceral primal need.

During my childhood as the son of a US diplomat, I traveled around the world, and early on acquired a taste for the unusual, the unknown. Different cultures shaped my epicurean universe, exposing me to a wide variety of flavors, some well known, some not so. Some even, gained popularity in the US, long after I had been introduced to them as a kid. Pakay, Chirimoya, Merquen…   the list goes on and on.

During my travels, I came across one food, that I can perhaps qualify as one of the most unique I have ever tried. Black garlic. It was in Japan about ten years ago if memory doesn’t fail me, anyway, I forgot all about it, until I saw it again at the last Fancy Food Show, in New York City, where a gentleman had it out on display with bells and whistles. I thought it marvelous to re-encounter with such a delicious morsel, and was inclined to venture into the sales and distribution of it, both in the area where I live at the moment, (Washington DC), and Brazil, where I have had enterprises ongoing for the last ten years or so. Upon contact with this gentleman based out of Hayward California, and striking a verbal agreement for the supply of black garlic to me, I made the necessary arrangements for the import of the product into Brazil, and was ready to roll, happy as I could be in my newest enterprise, at the helm of my own black merchant ship ahoy.

To my surprise, when I sought my first order, the gentleman repeatedly did not answer my phone calls, nor replied to my emails, and certainly did not fulfill his verbal agreement to supply me with black garlic. I could not understand why somebody would promise a product they are obviously committed to sell, to a merchant willing to open a market of 300 million people and not fulfill an order. In any case, I had already put my name and reputation on the line in Brazil, and was not about to lose face because of this.

In frustration, I plunged into a kamikaze research on the subject on cyberspace. As it happened, there were a number of companies producing black garlic for medicinal purposes, its traditional purpose in the East, mainly in Korea and China. Here comes the good part.

In my research, I discovered the existence of a unique variety of garlic, that featured one clove per head, that’s right. One single clove made up a whole head of garlic. Not like elephant garlic, this is large in size, but about three centimeters in diameter. So particular is this garlic, that it only grows at high altitude levels in extreme cold weather, on the foothills of the Himalaya Mountains, at about 5000 meters above sea level  to be more precise. My devious mind immediately thought, hmmm, I wonder, this is such unique garlic, and black garlic is such a unique process… I wonder what would happen if I put this garlic to ferment into black garlic…. A very unique food was on the making.

I tried buying Pearl garlic,  – that’s what its popular name is – at the local level, nobody had even heard of it. Then at the large regional outlets, nothing, and finally on the Internet, where I found one company, with an outdated information package, disconnected phone numbers, and finally found to be defunct for all practical purposes, or as the person on the phone put it, “they get mail here once in a while, but we don’t know who they are… they moved out a long time ago”.

I turned to large international garlic traders from India and China, and they could in fact deliver the product, in its raw state. None of them had the capability to make black garlic for me. Not even in a large order, and even if I ordered raw garlic and set up shop to make it in my back yard, I still had to contend with a drastic three hundred percent protectionist import tax surcharge set up by the Department of Agriculture against Chinese garlic producers’ dumping practices.

None but ONE. I found a future partner in Singapore, who manufactured black garlic in mainland China, who had access to Pearl garlic, and YES! Could process it into black garlic for me!  I could not believe it, I had actually done it. After months of continuously rowing in rough waters, I had my break. I was to become the creator of a unique product not found anywhere in the western world.

I named it “Black Pearl”. So Black Pearl garlic was born. When I received my first trial batch, sixteen of the ugliest most beautiful little garlic I had ever seen in my life, my heart pounded with joy… Ok so I am being overly melodramatic, but hey let’s agree, it is not every day you get to create something truly unique in the culinary arena.

Next… The Grand Release…. Let the trumpets herald the coming of Black Pearl, and ladies and gentlemen, and chefs and cooks and gourmets of all kinds be made to experience the unique, the one and only… Ok ok, I’ll tone it down, well anyway, I started looking for the best avenue to introduce my beloved little unique garlic to the world, and found it. In Gilroy California.

So it happens that for whatever reason, the people in this friendly enclave of Silicon Valley hold what has become (or so they claim) the most famous garlic festival in the world. With hundreds of thousands garlic lovers flocking in from all corners of the world. What a fantastic coincidence I thought, the perfect place, a festival full of garlickers to appreciate and enjoy the fruit of my efforts.

So I call the people at the festival, and I get voice-mailed a couple of times, oh well it has happened to me before, some folks are just very casual with their phones, except in Tijuana, there they make it a point not answering theirs at all, the siesta thing you know?. Well where was I… Ah yes so I get hold of a very polite lady, to whom I explain that I am calling from Washington DC, and that I wish to present black garlic from the Himalayas at the festival, who kindly invites me to fill out their online booth participant application. There I go to printing and filling out all kinds of questions relevant to proper festival booth etiquette, including how many festivals I had participated in the last years and what my sales volume had been. Why, it beats me,  festivaleese I suppose,  you get graded on how much you sell or something.

In any case, I fill out the corresponding forms along with a non refundable application fee of 25 Dollars. Impatient a folk as I am, and having sent the material by overnight express mail, I call back, to make sure the package has arrived, and inquire as to when I should expect an outcome, since time for me is of the essence, I have to age the garlic for two months, and then ship it –another thirty days at sea -, so I would have a very narrow wiggling room.  I am informed that the decision by ‘The Committee’ would be out by the end of March, and that ‘no they did not have any other black garlic participant this year’.

I rush to produce a contingency of Pearl Garlic, so as to be ready for the festival, and even invite my Singapore partner to come to the event. Boy the Black Pearl party was going to be a thing to be remembered if I had anything to do with it, and hundreds of thousands of ecstatic garlic fans would be going home with their free samples of Black Pearl…

And March comes to an end, and I am summarily informed in a not very pleasant manner, that

“Our Advisory Committee has met and unfortunately, your booth application
was not approved. As much as we are about garlic, our Festival focuses
on locally grown fresh garlic. We already have multiple returning vendors
that sell garlic that they themselves grow. We are very sorry but we can

not authorize a launching of this product at the Gilroy Garlic Festival.”

The keepers of The Gate have spoken, and they are NOT letting me in. Basically snobbing me and saying, “you are not from our neighborhood, you can’t play with us”, or is there a secret agenda at work here? Should I dream up a “conspiracy theory”? After all, they KNEW I was calling from Washington and my garlic was from China from day one right? Why did they stall me a whole month and then tell me I cannot be accepted because “I am not a local”?, and get this why did they accept my application and keep my 25 Dollars?, why not tell me from the get go “This is not for you” period? I wonder how many applications get “rejected” (25 Dollars times 100…)  Ah I better not even GO there, it is irrelevant. One more hurdle to jump. Lorrrd have merrrcy.

So I have the Black Pearl at sea, on its way to the shores of America, and have decided that it is useless to depend or rely on the wonderful love giving hearts of others. I shall rely on guerrilla tactics, using the channels available to me. Blog blog blog, Tweet  tweet  tweet, and write letters like this to folks like you who if I am a bit lucky, will take notice of my efforts, request a sample of my garlic and allow me my fifteen minutes of fame in the Parthenon of culinary excellence.

Chef Oscar Lippe

Washington DC

April 2, 2010

 
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