Celebrating Garlic!

On Bastille Day it seems appropriate to feature Garlic, so quintessentially French!

The small village of St Clar in Gascony (32 Gers, Occitanie) south east of Lectoure is known locally as the Garlic Capital of Gascony, and every summer celebrates with a day of festivities and a market.- see Garlic Festival at Saint Clar for dates. There is a great country market (inevitably with stalls selling white and pink garlic, but also other local produce such as duck and goose products); a competition to create the most amazing structures out of garlic; and more bulbs of pristince garlic than you could eat in a lifetime! Music and street entertainers weave in and out of the visitors, and at lunchtime an impressive meal is served (booking required) under the market hall with huge pans of mussels being cooked on massive log fires as a starter!

There is a market here every Thursday morning, so if you cannot make the Festival you can still get a “taste” of the place – plus there is a Garlic Museum (I kid you not!) – see www.mairie-st-clar.com/

Meanwhile over at Lautrec between Gaillac and Castres (81 Tarn, Occitanie) they have their Pink Garlic Festival (FĂȘte de l’ail rose) inn August which follows a similar programme, except that here the lunch is a giant free Garlic Soup, and the competitions include the epic struggle for the best Garlic Tart and the longest tress of garlic (the record to beat being 21.66 metres!).

The Ail Rose de Lautrec is protected by an IGP (Protected Geographical Indication, a European certification of origin) and benefits from a Label Rouge quality certification and is recognised for its aromatic and subtle taste, sweeter and milder than the white garlic.See www.ailrosedelautrec.com

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