Skeptics of garlic-infused chocolate are always pleasantly surprised when they try festival favorites such as Le Dolci’s Garlic and Chocolate Ice Cream or Brandon Olsen’s Truffle with Coffee, Black Garlic and Passion Fruit. The Secret? Use roasted or fermented garlic. And always use Ontario garlic, which has a more robust flavour and a higher sugar (Brix) content.
Roasted garlic has a caramel taste, while fermented (black) garlic has hints of coffee, molasses and chocolate. According to the Nordic Food Lab, the process of creating black garlic is not, strictly speaking, fermenting, although that’s the term widely used to describe it. The transformation is due part in part to enzymatic breakdown (the heat denatures alliinase, the enzyme that converts non-volatile alliin into volatile allicin, the compound responsible for fresh garlic’s pungency). The process is also due to the Maillard Reaction – a cascade of chemical reactions that produce the dark colour and complex, carmelised flavour with notes of coffee, licorice, molasses and tamarind.
Whether it’s roasted or fermented, it’s no wonder that garlic and chocolate and other dessert ingredients are a perfect marriage. Toronto Garlic Festival has featured many innovative and delicious garlic themed desserts including chocolatier Laura Slack’s Lestat chocolate skull, voted one of “50 Crazy Good Things To Eat and Drink” by Toronto Life; Roots of Health’s Roasted Garlic Almond Brittle; Le Dolci’s Garlic-Infused Macarons; Chef Ron Raymer’s (Smoked & Cracked) Butter Tarts with Chocolate Roasted Black Garlic Praline (see recipe). Also, Major Craig’s Black Garlic Raspberry Whiskey Jam; Magic Oven’s Garlic Infused Bread Pudding with Fruit and Garlic Compote; and Chef and Chopped Canada Winner Anne Sorrenti’s (Oakwood Hardware Food and Drink) Black Garlic and Beer Lollipops (shown in photo above), or Brownies with Black Garlic (see recipe); and Just A Cup’s Garlic Chocolate Chip Cookies.
Special ice cream flavours available only at the Toronto Garlic Festival include Dark Chocolate & Golden Roasted Garlic Ice Cream (see recipe), Garlic Popcorn Ice Cream (by chocolatier Tim English), Bourbon, Butterscotch & Black Garlic Ice Cream(Le Dolci) and Garlic, Grapefruit and Champagne Sorbet (The Pop Stand). Featured coffees include Warm Garlic Infused Spiced Coffee with Maple Cream and Pumpkin Vanilla Dust from the Spice Chef’s Creations. But the story of unusual but delicious food combinations with garlic doesn’t end with dessert and coffee.
Black garlic marries exceptionally well with some types of beer. Cassell Brewery created a Chocolate Porter with black garlic for the 2015 Toronto Garlic Festival. Cassell Brewmaster Mario Bourgeois says, “Our Sleeper Car Double Chocolate Porter base is creating a nice balance, providing a garlicky taste without being overwhelming which is well married with the sweetness of this beer.” Cassell’s Black Garlic Chocolate Porter was a hit at the 2015 Toronto Garlic Festival. For the 2016 Toronto Garlic Festival Brimstone Brewery created a Black Garlic Oatmeal Stout Cask Ale. Cassel Brewery’s Black Garlic Chocolate porter at the 2015 Toronto Garlic Festival