Hamburg import company Direct Fresh LLC has been offering loose Chinese garlic for a long time. Over the years, the purple garlic variety has become an interesting niche in the German trade. For almost two months now, the company has also included black solo garlic in its range. Although marketing of the new product is still in its infancy, the company believes in the potential of fermented garlic products, confirms Felix Stamer, both buyer and seller.
Felix Stamer shows the black garlic directly after offloading in the port of Vlissingen.
Only a few months ago, Dirk Landahl - Managing Director of Hamburger GmbH - first encountered the unique product. The experienced fruit importer was immediately impressed by the aromatic taste and striking appearance and turned to his regular partner in China, from whom he has been buying the garlic for years. "Although he had not previously offered the black garlic, he was immediately prepared to expand his existing range and supply us accordingly. In December - just in time for Christmas - we received the first deliveries," says Stamer.
'Normal' garlic from China has been one of Direct Fresh's standard products for several years now and is offered all year round
The black garlic is a further refinement of the common garlic and gets its colouring through a special fermentation process. Apart from a striking appearance, the product contains sweet and sour aromas, incomparable to the taste of normal garlic. The black garlic is available in 125 gram baskets (8 pieces per box). Stamer: "We can supply any quantity you require by agreement: Our 'common' solo garlic is already being supplied to German supermarkets and we have now also been able to place our black garlic in the retail trade."
Black garlic is currently virtually unknown in European trade. Therefore, an information sheet has been developed with production information on the front and recipe suggestions on the back.
Need for clarification available
The Direct Fresh team is absolutely certain that black garlic will become a permanent fixture in the German retail market in the future, but it is difficult to estimate the time frame at the moment, emphasises Stamer. There is still a need for sufficient information about this new and largely unknown product in Europe. "For this reason, each individual basket contains an information sheet with some information about the production process and a few recipe suggestions. We now have to be a little patient, but we are sure that the end consumer will accept the product. In any case, the product has the potential to develop into an interesting niche, similar to the common solo garlic a few years ago."