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Lautrec's Pink Garlic
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Pink Lautrec garlic bulbs are small and symmetrical, roughly 6 centimeters in diameter, with 8 to 10 pink cloves per bulb. The translucent, papery outer wrapper is white, and when peeled away, it reveals creamy, ivory cloves that are wrapped in pink casings. Pink Lautrec garlic is warm, subtle, and sweet and has a mild pungency. It has a uniquely robust flavor that offers hints of muskiness, Dijon, and horseradish.
Pink Lautrec garlic is available mid-summer through winter.
Pink Lautrec garlic, botanically classified as Allium sativum var. ophioscorodon, is a hardneck, creole variety, meaning it develops a rigid central flower stalk and is unique in clove configuration, color, and growing conditions. Also known as Ail Rose de Lautrec in French, it is named for the region in France where it is not only grown but also where it has established a protected geographical indication (PGI). Grown outside of this region, it cannot be called Rose de Lautrec garlic. There are four known cultivars grown within the region that can be named Rose de Lautrec including Iberose, Goulurose, Edenrose, and Jardirose.
Pink Lautrec garlic is a good source of vitamins A, B, C, and minerals like calcium, iron, potassium, zinc, copper, and magnesium.
Pink Lautrec garlic can be used raw or cooked and can be prepared chopped, crushed, and sliced. When cooked, the flavor is delicate and not overwhelming. Pink Lautrec garlic is used to make the traditional pink garlic soup from the Lautrec region, which uses ingredients such as vermicelli, mustard, the yolk and white of an egg, and 10 or more cloves of the Pink Lautrec garlic. Pink Lautrec garlic is also featured in recipes for sorbet, walnut and garlic tarts, and even chocolate cake. Pink Lautrec garlic can be used in any application that calls for garlic, though the flavor profile may be slightly different because of its subtle sweetness. Pink Lautrec garlic will keep up to 6 months when stored in a cool and dry place.
In Lautrec, France, there is a yearly festival called Lautrec's Pink Garlic Fair. Originating in the 1970s, this two-day celebration traditionally begins on the first Friday of August to mark the start of the season for the famous garlic. Festivities include music, dancing, art arrangements made from Pink Lautrec garlic, recipe sharing, and free tastings of the famous Lautrec's Pink garlic soup. There is also an annual competition to make the longest manouilles or the longest bunch of Pink Lautrec garlic within 3 hours. The record stands at 22.29 meters (over 73 feet) long.
Pink Lautrec garlic is grown in the southwest of France, primarily in the Lautrec region, which is part of the Tarn department. This area of France is known for its green hillsides, food and wine, and 13th-century medieval-era villages. According to legend, Pink Lautrec garlic arrived in the region during the Middle Ages from a merchant who, traveling through the area, was not able to pay his meal at a local tavern and instead offered the owner bulbs of pink garlic in exchange. Today, Pink Lautrec garlic is found in France, the United Kingdom, and some specialty grocers in the United States.