A no-garlic-breath garlic is rediscovered


Love garlic, but hate garlic breath? There is some good news for you: a type of odorless garlic, thought to be extinct, has been rediscovered. The Guardian reports on the resurgence of aglione, also known as "kissing garlic", a rarely seen Italian garlic varietal that is odorless, milder tasting, easier to digest, and doesn't cause the dreaded "garlic breath."

Two unlikely entrepreneurs are behind this resurgence, Alessandro Guagni and Lorenzo Bianchi, a construction engineer and a commercial lawyer. Guagni first stumbled upon aglione while on holiday in Tuscany, at a farmer's stand that was selling an unusual looking vegetable. "It was very big. One bulb weighed from 300 to 800 grams, about 10 times as big as normal garlic. The taste was very good and very light so we thought about the possibility of reintroducing it in the market," he said.

After being told by several restaurateurs that aglione was extinct, the Guagni and Bianchi tracked down a few local producers who grew the garlic for their personal use. Now they are growing it commercially on a two-hectare plot, which they say is enough to cultivate about 30,000 plants.

The garlic allegedly dates back to ancient times, when Etruscans inhabited the Chiana valley in Tuscany. Aglione was also present on the island of Giglio. According to legend, it "arrived on the island in 1544 after the pirate Khayr al-Din killed nearly everyone on it, forcing the ruling Medici family of Florence to repopulate it with aglione-loving inhabitants of the Chiana valley, who brought it with them."

For now you are unlikely to see it on supermarket shelves since the production is so small. However, if other growers become interested in aglione, you might one day be able to eat pasta aglio e olio with gusto on date night. 

1 Comment

  • susan g  on  5/4/2016 at 9:28 AM

    EYB, be sure to let us know when this is available to consumers!

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