Voghiera in the province of Ferrara, every July holds its garlic festival when the year’s crop is harvested.
What makes the garlic of Voghiera so special? The experts tell us it’s a combination of whiteness, large cloves and that it lasts a long time before going mouldy. The sagra is held at the sumptuous “delizia” of Belriguardo, an old 15th century house known as the “Versailles degli Estensi”. The garlic produced in Voghiera counts for less than 1% of the national production, but quality counts more than quantity.
The presentation of the garlic at the sagra becomes a work of art as designs such as huge bouquets show off the bulbs at their best.
Garlic in Latin is allium sativum, hence aglio in Italian but the word ”aglio” itself comes from the Celtic meaning “all” (hot or burning).
8 garlic cloves
1/4 tsp sea salt
1 egg yolk
1/2 lemon juice
4 tbl extra-virgin olive oil
1 tbl yogurt
Peel the garlic, chop & put it in a mortar. Add salt & pound the garlic with a pestle until you have a smooth paste. Whisk the egg in a mixing bowl & add the garlic paste. Stir in the lemon juice, slowly whisking in the olive oil to achieve a creamy aioli; if the dip is not thick enough, add more olive . Delicious with grilled chicken, or as a dip for raw vegetables.
Bagna Cauda – hot sauce dip
4 cloves garlic, crushed
l 1/2 oz. butter, melted
4 oz. salted anchovies
1 cup olive oil
Sauté the crushed garlic & chopped anchovy fillets in the oil. Stir constantly until the anchovies disintegrate. Add butter, mix, add pepper. Serve in a heat proof bowl placed on a warmer for everyone to dip the vegetables in simmering constantly. Enjoy with fennel, carrots, cardoons, celery, crispy endive leaves.
Pina’s garlic cream
Throw about 10 garlic cloves into boiling water for 2”. Remove. Change the water & repeat the process 5 times, (this makes the garlic more digestible). Put the garlic in a pan with a knob of butter, cooking slowly until creamy. Salt.
This cream is for accompaning grilled fish & meat or for little appetiting ”crostini”. Or as a dip.
100 g wild garlic leaves
100 ml vegetable oil
5 g salt
Wash and dry the wild garlic leaves. Chop up the wild garlic leaves and add the salt, leave for 15 min. Blend the wild garlic, salt and oil. Decant into a preserving jar and top up with oil so that no leaves are exposed to the air. Refrigerate.
This is a creamy garlic paste to accompany grilled meat or fish or spread on hot crostini with Italian country bread
Two heads of garlic cloves. Boil water and repeating for 5 times over, throw the cloves into the boiling water for 2” (each time draining and reboiling in fresh water). This makes the garlic easy to digest. In a small pan put a nut of butter and slowly cook till creamy. Salt to taste.