Guide to finding and cooking with the best Aussie garlic

Thursday, April 11, 2019
You’re probably familiar with the one or two types of garlic available at the local supermarket, but did you know there's a mouthwatering list of Aussie cloves out there?

Here’s a guide to the basic varieties and a list of medal-winning garlic so you can start to experiment with the different flavors in your cooking.

Most Australian garlics belong to one of these garlic groups. Each group has its own flavour characteristics when raw, sautéed or roasted and varying heat and flavour intensity.

SUBTROPICAL

Subtropical garlic is sweet. Sautéed to crisp it is aromatic with a sweetly pleasant simple garlicky flavor and baked it has a richly sweet garlic flavor.

TURBAN

Hardneck Australian garlic tends to have more of a stronger, richer and sweeter flavour than their soft-neck cousins. You can use it in a range of sautéed dishes however it's best when crisply fried providing a nutty flavour.


ASIATIC

Great for salsa’s, Asiatic garlic is spicy hot in its raw form, rivalling the heat of creoles.


ARTICHOKE

If you want to eat or use garlic raw or lightly cooked, you'll probably head for a softneck variety – Artichoke or Silverstein. The most versatile of Australian garlic with simple, direct, vegetative flavours, mild to hot, Artichoke Group garlic lends itself to a range of cooking methods. When sautéed till crisp has delicious mild garlic flavor and roasted it has a mild, sweet earthy flavor which maintains its shape.


CREOLE

Cultivars with the hottest heat belong to the Creole group. Creole garlics are rarely seen in cold climates, so if you see these raw, it is rich, complex and long-lasting in flavor. When sautéed gently, creole garlic creates a beautiful garlic explosion often with a nutty flavor. Roasted it loses heat and is lovely and mellow, with caramel flavours.

GLAZED PURPLE STRIPE

Sauteed, it has a good rich garlic flavor with that great garlic aroma that we love. Roasted, the cloves become gooey.


PORCELAIN

Great for sautéing, the intense heat and flavor of its massive cloves softens to a pleasurable garlic richness. Also well suited to roasting as it retains its structure and flavours.


ROCAMBOLE

To maintain its complex flavours described as floral, earthy and creamy, Rocambole garlic is best sautéed gently.

MARBLED SILVERSKIN PURPLE STRIPE

The flavours rival those of Rocambole Group, with deep, rich and often spicy flavours. Sauteed till crisp it has a delicious, rich garlic flavour. Garlic from this group is also good for roasting as it maintains its structure and caramelised flavours.


STANDARD PURPLE STRIPE

One of the best for roasting, Standard Purple Stripe garlic develop a creamy nutty, complex garlicky flavour.


SILVERSKIN

This softneck garlic is often found on supermarket shelves due to its long storage life. Roasted, it will hold its flavor well. Sautéed till crisp, it has a delicious strong garlicky flavor and less heat than when raw.


Medal-winning garlic varieties to look out for

The Australian Food Awards sprang into action last month in Melbourne with the judging and announcement of the best garlics.

Judges meticulously inspected bulbs, peeled skins, tasted cloves and conversed for hours about the competition garlic on the table and the 2019 results are in.

Keep your eyes peeled for the following varieties online and at a farmers market near you:

Victoria

Best in Class Garlic

Dunganski
Wildes Lane, Moyston

Gold Medal

Mariposa de la Tierra
Wildes Lane, Moyston

Tarrawingee Garlic
Tarrawingee Garlic, Tarrawingee

Silver Medal

Cottonwoods Organic Garlic
BM & SLA Gaskin, Milawa

Italian Red
Kucina Estate Garlic, Ballarat

Lokalen
Wildes Lane, Moyston

Rojo de Castro
Mirboo Farm, South Gippsland

Spanish Roja
Wildes Lane, Moyston

Wilde Pearl
Wildes Lane, Moyston

Australian White
Boundary Creek Garlic, Upper Gundowring

Bronze Medal

Garlic
Hilltop Garlic, Mirboo North

Italian Purple
Boundary Creek Garlic

Spanish Roja
Mirboo Farm

Garlic
Yarra Glen Garlic, Yarra Glen

South Australia

Gold Medal

Fleurieu Red
Fleurieu Garlic, Willunga

Silver Medal

Rojo del Pais Baza
Fleurieu Garlic, Willunga

Bronze Medal

Garlic
Wigley Crossing Produce, Barmera

Western Australia

Silver Medal

Coastwinds Farm Purple Stripe
Coastwinds Pty Ltd, Mosman Park

New South Wales 

Silver Medal

Boutique Garlic
Springside Produce and Apiaries (Trading As: Boutique Garlic), Orange

Monaro Purple Garlic
Snug Farm, Oberon

Valley View Farm & Co. Garlic
Valley View Farm & Co., Rainbow Flat

Bronze Medal

Cedar Creek Monaro Purple
Hunter Valley Produce, Wollombi

Moora Garlic
Agrico Produce, Hillston

Queensland

Silver Medal

Ten Acres Garlic
Ten Acres, Ninderry

JustAus Garlic
JustAus Garlic, Brooklands

The best organic garlic can be found in Tasmania

Silver Medal

Flinders Island Purple Garlic
MA & SM Pitchford