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A construction engineer and a lawyer who’ve been friends since they were teens were seeking a diversion from their 9-to-5 toil, so they teamed up to revive a Tuscany staple that hasn’t been prevalent in four decades: a huge variety of garlic that doesn’t stink, tastes sweeter, and won’t cause indigestion.
Per the Guardian, Alessandro Guagni and Lorenzo Bianchi have spent three years cultivating aglione (“big garlic”), which they’re hoping to hawk to high-end food markets (and, ostensibly, to a clientele described by Mic.com as those who “love pasta and making out”).
Guagni was the first to contemplate the so-called “kissing garlic” when he came across a huge sample of it at a farm stand three years ago. “One bulb weighed from [10 to 28 ounces], about 10 times as big as normal garlic,” he says. “The taste was very good and very light,” and the idea of resurrecting it was born.
But when he and Bianchi pressed restaurant owners on where they could find it, most told them the “big garlic” was “extinct.” (According to the Slow Food Foundation, there are fewer than 10 aglione producers, all based in Tuscany’s Chiana Valley.) The partners managed to track down some seeds, however, and started growing their product on a 5-acre plot of land Bianchi owns in Le Marche.
What makes their garlic more palatable to the nose, mouth, and stomach: the lack of the chemical compound allicin, which is produced when garlic is chopped or crushed, Food and Wine notes. The two also say their garlic is organic and that most of their garlic-tending labor is taken care of by … ducks: The birds chow down on weeds (but not the garlic plants themselves) and fertilize the soil with their droppings. (More on why we get “garlic breath.”)
By Jenn Gidman