Herbs and spices of Provence
Latin: allium sativum
This fine French flavor is used extensively in Provencal cooking.
The three types of garlic are white (l'ail blanc), pink (l'ail rose) and red (l'ail rouge).
- L'ail blanc (white garlic) is the most common and most mild, has smaller bulbs and keeps for the longest time.
- L'ail rose (red garlic), with purple-violet covering, is popular in the Var. This has the strongest flavor, and keeps well. L'ail violet is a local name for l'ail rose. This photo of Ail Violet> was taken at the market in La Garde-Freinet.
Garlic is excellent for the health. Although you might not want to chew it just before your first date, garlic is known to be good for the heart and to reduce blood pressure, and is excellent for digestion.
A head of garlic contains several cloves, and the cloves are the common measurment for cooking. Garlic is often peeled, in which case laying it on a wooden block and banging it with a blunt instrument is an accepted method of facilitating the job.
A small garlic press is handy for crushing the unpeeled garlic; the pulpe is squeezed out for direct use.
Garlic and olives are the icons of Provençal cooking, and garlic is probably used in more dishes than those excluding it. Some of the most featured recipes are: (aïgo boulido, garlic soup (soupe à l'ail), l'aïoli, l'anchoïade, bourride and pâtes au pistou.