Melanie Covers Garlic Fest!

Posted by: Dave DeWitt

By Bay Area Correspondent Melanie Yunk

At the Gilroy Garlic Festival recently, Kent and I made our way through Gourmet Alley and all the various food booths to look for lunch. We found many incredible options: garlic artichokes (another popular local vegetable), stir-fry chicken, calamari, wild boar on a stick, garlic salmon, garlic hot wings and so much more. We finally settled on Louisiana Jambalaya, Beer-Battered Garlic Crab Fries, Roasted Corn on the Cob (with garlic, of course) and a sampling of a delicious paella from Parsley Sage Rosemary & Thyme Catering made on-site in their giant 4-foot pans.

Full and happy, we needed to move around to work off our lunch. Ice cold beers in hand, we meandered through the artists' booths and found many fun and creative crafts by artisans from all over the world.  

Michael Loffler from Seattle's Hatterdashery sat at his antique Singer sewing machine crafting his handmade garlic hats, a very popular item at this event.

The French Garlic Grater is a useful and beautiful little plate invented in France and produced in Spain. Malin and Dan of MalDan Industries demonstrated their product before a packed booth. Their plates cost $22 each and are available here.

The Woodkins' veggie, fruit and flower characters (including a chile pepper) are designed by Linda Lebedowicz and hand-carved by her husband. Linda travels throughout California, Nevada and Arizona selling her designs. These entertaining and reasonably priced carvings range in price from $15 to $50 and can be purchased on their website.  Our biggest surprise at the show was the framed Antique Seed Packets. These seed packets were hand-lithographed 100 years ago and were never actually used. They were discovered in a basement where they lived for 100 years, untouched. The packets depict the many varieties and colors of flowers and vegetables that are considered extinct today. Because of the lithographic process, the art under magnification is three-dimensional. Simply amazing and beautiful--and reasonably priced too.  They are available here.

And one of the most fun parts of the Festival was that I got to canoodle with celebrity chef Fabio!

By the end of the day, we left the Festival, full of garlic, beer, and memorable images from the Garlic Showdown. We're already plotting our trip to the 32nd annual event and can't wait for next year.

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