Garlic ice cream is one of the Gilroy Garlic Festival’s perennial favorite mainstay attractions or, depending on who you ask, maybe it’s just one of those food items you have to try once in order to feel adventurous.
Samplings of garlic ice cream are offered for free all day, every day throughout the three-day festival that celebrates all things garlic at Christmas Hill Park in Gilroy. First-time tasters and garlic ice cream lovers who would sneak through the line for a second or third serving offered to describe their feelings toward the frozen, sweet and spicy treat Friday, July 24, the first day of the 37th annual festival.
“It’s edible. You can taste the ice cream in it,” Tom Aguilar, who is stationed with the Air Force in New Jersey but is visiting family in town, said dryly. “I probably wouldn’t buy it, but it’s not as bad as it sounds.”
It was Aguilar’s first time eating garlic ice cream. “He eats it all the time,” he added, pointing at his nephew Logan Guerrero of Gilroy, who hurried to finish his cone before it melted under the sun.
Patty Gillespie, a first-time Garlic Festival attendee from Clovis, said, “It’s OK. It tastes more vanilla than garlic.”
Lina Craighill, a Gilroy native who lives in Santa Monica, was also attending the festival and sampling the ice cream for the first time. She is in town visiting high school friends from alma mater Christopher High School.
“It tastes like a normal meal, but it’s cold,” Craighill said.
Rose Myers, attending the Garlic Festival with husband Lee Myers from San Jose, enjoyed garlic dessert.
“It’s a very fun day and the ice cream adds to these spirits,” Rose said.
Zoe Mason, 13 of Redwood City, was visiting the Gilroy festival with family and friends, some of whom drove all night from their home in Phoenix, Ariz. for the summer visit.
“It was good,” Mason said of the ice cream. “I expected the garlic to be more overpowering, but it wasn’t.”
Warren Yuers, of Sebastopol, said he is “not too crazy about it” as he exited the end of the garlic ice cream line with friend Mike Hawthorne. Yuers declined a sample, but Hawthorne enjoyed it.
“It’s totally not what you expect,” Hawthorne said. “It’s sweet on a hot day. Cold is good. Free is good.”
The two were looking forward to seeing their friends’ band, Sean Wiggins and Lone Goat, who were scheduled to play on the festival’s Vineyard stage from 2:30 to 4 p.m.
Frida and Angel Ortiz, of Milpitas, tasted garlic ice cream for the first time Friday.
“It’s very good,” Frida said. “It’s sweet, yet you can really taste the garlic.”
Angel added, “It’s something different. It’s pretty unique.”
Tim Roby, of Whittier, said he thought the ice cream taste “starts out vanilla, and (the garlic) is not really strong.”
“I kind of enjoy it,” added the first-time festival goer. “I might buy some.”
The Gilroy Garlic Festival continues Saturday, July 25 and Sunday, July 26, from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. each day. For more information, visit gilroygarlicfestival.com.