John van Laethem: “Flavour subtler than regular garlic”
Wild garlic on the market two weeks early
“Spring is coming. This results in the first larger supply of wild garlic. As of yesterday, we’ll have a considerable supply of high-quality, culinary product for the first time. Last year, we received our first full pallet on 8 March, so we’re two weeks earlier this year,” says John van Laethem.
“Legend has it that bears were woken from their hibernation by the smell of the young leaves. Studying their behaviour taught us they just went looking for the juiciest leaves after waking up. This would explain why it’s called Ail des ours, in French, and Bärlauch in German,” John says. “I expect that, considering not many bears live in these parts, when tasting these aromatic leaves, the Dutch just said ‘Das look’ (It’s garlic). That might be why the Dutch name is slightly different from the product’s name in other languages.”
According to John, the difference with wild garlic is that, compared to regular garlic, its flavour is much subtler, and therefore less dominating. “Because of this, it’s much more versatile than regular garlic. The refined flavour of the flower is another thing that I’ve always remembered, but for that, you need to wait until the cold has left the country,” John concludes.
Publication date: 2/22/2018
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