Don't Try This at Home: Korean Black Garlic Probably Best Left to Professionals

Categories: Brody, Food Find

Meredith Brody
Could you resist?
Once a cutting-edge ingredient of starred chefs who frequented the haute cook shop Le Sanctuaire, Korean black garlic is a lot more accessible these days. Sure, chefs like James Syhabout of Commis are still creating platescapes with it, and it's made appearances on Top Chef and Iron Chef. We spotted some recently at Berkeley Bowl (2020 Oregon at Adeline, Berkeley), offered as a checkstand impulse buy.

Who wouldn't be intrigued by the sign for the brand called Black Garlic. Inc. & Aged Jeju Garlic ($3.29 for two heads): "Tastes like wonderful cream chocolate, After eat does not have a garlic smell, Black garlic bring energy to the body." Text on the package had the same halting charm: "How much Black Garlic should I eat? It's a Natural Food! Enjoy it as many as you want!"

Unfamiliar with Korean black garlic? It's regular garlic fermented for a month under high heat, said to contain twice as many antioxidants as raw garlic, as well as something called S-Allycysteine, reportedly a cancer preventative. When we got home and tasted some, it wasn't at all like wonderful cream chocolate. More like a very large, soft raisin, or small, soft prune -- one with a lingering garlicky aftertaste. We'd have to be pretty passionate about any home recipe that called for it. On second thought, we'll keep relying on chefs to take the bizarre edge off.

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