Digging into garlic ice cream

Dispatch reporter Peter Crowley tastes, and enjoys, garlic ice

GILROY
– I couldn’t help myself. Faced with the incredible prospect of
five different flavors of garlic ice cream, I had to try them
all.
GILROY – I couldn’t help myself. Faced with the incredible prospect of five different flavors of garlic ice cream, I had to try them all.

Can you believe some people hate this stuff? Our photographers here at The Dispatch tell be about all the pictures they’ve taken over the years of kids and adults grimacing after their first lick, then throwing away the rest.

Maybe you were one of those. Too bad. You should try a cup of garlic pistachio next year. It’ll send you.

Then again, maybe it’s just a matter of taste. Me, I discovered I like garlic ice cream in general.

I hadn’t planned on writing this story because, this being my first Garlic Fest, I thought garlic ice cream was a flavor unto itself.

I didn’t there was anything worth writing about. I just wanted to try it.

So I went up to the first garlic ice cream booth I saw, and the lady said, “What flavor do you want?”

“Garlic,” I said, wondering if she was being a smart-aleck.

“They all have garlic,” she said, and rattled off four different flavors: garlic vanilla, garlic chocolate, garlic pistachio and – new this year – garlic roasted almond.

I was at a loss. I asked her recommendation.

Pistachio, she said.

I tasted it.

It was then I knew I had to try them all.

The most garlicky, by a long shot, is the soft-serve across the park at the ConAgra/Gilroy Foods booth, where workers from the massive east Gilroy garlic/onion plant hold free mini cones out of the booth windows to entice passersby. This is vanilla ice cream mixed with Gilroy Foods’ own garlic powder, and it’s pretty potent. Put it this way, if, like me, you like popping raw cloves, it’s delicious.

The $3 scoops at the “unaffiliated” booth across the way, however, are blended with fresh garlic in the beginning of the process, and the stinking rose’s presence is more subtle. The almond, for example, masks the garlic so well I only noticed it in the aftertaste.

It was easier to taste among the whole pistachios, a surprisingly good combo.

“We have people who say they don’t like garlic ice cream who like this,” server Sharon Thompson said. “A lot of people come for vanilla, ’cause it’s the original, and then the chocolate lovers come for the decadence of garlic and chocolate mixed together.”

This booth once offered a pesto flavor, Thompson said. It “didn’t go over too well,” she added.

Maybe not, but I say bring it on.

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