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Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Black Garlic

Over the years, we’ve had to work pretty hard to introduce new products to supermarkets. Alfalfa Sprouts, Sugar Snap® Peas, Purple Potatoes, Hot House Cucumbers and Mangoes were just a few of the many introduction challenges. Interestingly, one of the easier items we introduced and got acceptance for was the Habanero Chile Pepper (100 times hotter than a jalapeño). Spicy was very in at that time -- the hotter the better!

So, it’s rare that a new product gains a “cult like” following and almost immediate success and acceptance. But this is exactly what happened last year when we introduced Black Garlic.

Here’s how it began. We started getting calls from chefs looking for a new garlic product -- something known as Black Garlic. The “chef-world grapevine” moves very quickly. Once a chef discovers a new ingredient or flavor, it spreads like wildfire.

The Frieda's buying team quickly found the source: a man named Scott Kim, the inventor of an amazing new kind of garlic. Scott developed this process of taking Korean-grown garlic (whole bulbs, with skin in tact), and submitting it to intense hot temperatures. Through this process, the garlic naturally turns a dark, molasses-brown color and the flavor becomes savory-sweet – reminiscent of teriyaki and molasses and garlic, without the sharp bite of raw garlic.

Black Garlic is a really versatile ingredient that adds a complex depth of flavor to foods. Here are a couple of recipes that demonstrate how to use it:
Black Garlic Risotto
Black Garlic Bruschetta

For the simplest way to serve it, we recommend spreading gourmet crackers with a little whipped cream cheese and topping with a small clove of Black Garlic. It’s very palatable and doesn’t have that strong garlic aftertaste.

Chefs and consumers have gone crazy over Black Garlic! And if you can believe it, one of our first customers was a small retailer in Minneapolis. They told us that all the media attention in the food pages had customers requesting the product, so they had to bring it in. And they tell us it keeps selling! Today, our largest distribution of the product is in Canada, where retailers have moved more than 1,000 packages in a single day (that is a LOT of Black Garlic)!

While I don’t think Black Garlic will be the next Kiwifruit, it’s nice to know that shoppers are still interested in new foods that have good flavor and are good for you!

Oh, by the way, if you can’t find Black Garlic in your favorite supermarket, please go to the produce manager and request it. (That’s how Frieda's got the Kiwifruit introduced back in 1962.) Then, send us an email with the name and location of your store, and we’ll do our part to get Black Garlic into your store.

Have you tried Black Garlic yet? I would love your comments on how you like the taste and how you use it!

Karen

6 comments:

  1. Karen - I love black garlic!! I just wished the Central Markets in Dallas carried on a consistent basis. It's a great product. Dan'l

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  2. Thanks, Dan’l. Just keep requesting it from your produce manager and passing the word along to others!

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  3. By far one of your most informative blogs!!! Keep up the good work.

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  4. Love the black garlic recipes! thanks for commenting!

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  5. On Tuesday night, the Food Network’s “Chopped” show had Black Garlic in the basket of mystery ingredients for chefs to cook in the appetizer round! One of the chefs combined Black Garlic with raspberries to make a chutney-type sauce for his turkey burger. The chef really liked the flavor of Black Garlic. The others seemed a little afraid of using too much of it. The host, Ted, and the female judge spoke briefly about what Black Garlic was – regular garlic that’s been fermented, with a very different taste…

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  6. I had a black garlic risotto in Miami at Casa Casaurina that was beyond words... So excited, I just ordered some and I can't wait to make it.

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