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Vessalico Garlic

PAT - Traditional Agri-Foodstuffs
Slow Food Presidium

Herbaceous plant belonging to the Liliaceae family, with perennial bulb, consisting of small cloves covered with a white or pinkish wrap. The leaves are fastened to the base and are tube-shaped, forming a sheath for the stem. On the upper part they are flat and hollow, with a 2 cm wide base and thinner on the summit.
The Vessalico garlic is a Slow Food Presidium, and it comes from the municipality of the same name in the Arroscia Upper Valley: its survival is connected with the will of a few farmers who kept on cultivating it in small plots situated on the slopes of the mountains, they have been handing down the bulbs from one generation to another, together with the cultivation and packaging technique.
The Vessalico garlic has a light aroma, an intense and lightly spicy taste, and it keeps for a long time.

For its cultivation the cloves are planted one by one at a distance of 20 to 25 cm one from the other in a soft soil.  The plot needs the direct sunlight and does not need to be irrigated. The bulbs are picked up at the end of the vegetation in summer, starting from the end of June, when the outside part of the plant is withered. The cultivation is completely organic and is carried out without mechanical means (for some years the technique of the soil solarization has been cultivated: it is a system through which the soil is sterilized with the sun heat).
The garlic is kept - after a short drying in the sun - by plaiting the long part of the plants: the dried bulbs are selected according to their dimensions and are plaited in pairs, forming a long network. This work can be done only in th morning or in the evening, when the bulbs are wet and the leaves do not break. The plants that are not cut keep on feeding the garlic and  maintaining it sound and fragrant, even eight or ten months after they have been picked up. Once ready, the bulbs must be kept in a fresh and dried place (do not expose them to the sun nor keep them in the dark).
Every year, on the 2nd of July, the garlic fair takes place in Vessalico, which is the ideal opportunity to buy it. The traditional local gastronomy proposes a dish which intensifies all its characteristics: it is the "aglié", a sort of mayonnaise prepared with extra virgin olive oil and crushed garlic to be spread on the toasted bread or to season the stewed potatoes.

Production place: Arroscia Upper Valley

The Producers
  Agriturismo Bacì du Mattu
Agricultural Holdings - Mendatica (IM)
  Az. Agricola Ferrari Paola
Agricultural Holdings - Mendatica (IM)

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