These days it seems there’s a festival for everything…apples, beer, wine, peppers, and yes, even garlic. I’m not sure how long the Garlic Festival has been around but I decided to check it out for the first time this year. Though nearly not as extensive or famous as the Gilroy Garlic Festival, the Easton festivities shut down the center of town and a garlicy aroma greets you from blocks away.
Without much preplanning I just decided to wander around the festival. There were vendors all over the place selling different garlic items, from food to purses. Larry Holmes had taken to the stage and was sending out fun vibes to everyone in the crowd as I downed my delicious garlic and cheese pierogies, washed back with a fresh cup of apple cider. We also picked up a dish from Jah’s Five Star Jamaican Restaurant. Jah’s had a TON of selections, however their customer service was terrible. I was admonished for lifting up a lid on a dish to see what it was when there were clearly many others doing the same thing in plain view, there were no signs indicating prices of dishes, what you could combine on their platters and for how much, and when asked about it the staff were exceedingly rude. That didn’t stop the curried garlic chicken from being delicious, but put a sour taste in my mouth afterwards. Some of their other garlic offerings included garlic stuffed tomatoes, garlic jerk shrimp, garlic stewed shark, garlic pineapple chicken, garlic jerk chicken, rosemary garlic salmon, garlic jerk pork, and sati garlic chicken kabobs.
Walking around the festival was pretty cool…people make some interesting stuff out of garlic. I also didn’t really know there were various different kinds of garlic with differing flavors, textures, etc. One stand was dishing out garlic vinegar shots with signs claiming, “More potent than viagra,” and “Underarms it works wonders, you’ll be noticed!” I watched as one poor bastard took a double shot…he didn’t look so hot afterwards but at least he was primed to fend off any Twilight nerds. I tried a taste of “garple”…a garlic-maple-apple combination that could quite possibly remove the chrome from a bumper. Yowza.
It was then I noticed a bunch of tents set up, and wandering over found that they had beer and wine sampling for $10. I ponied up and was given a pretty cool mini Reidel O style glass and a handful of tickets. Inside the tents were the Lehigh Valley Homebrewers, Weyerbacher, Brew Works, Southampton, Sorrenti Cherry Valley, and Vinter’s Circle providing the wine/beer. Southampton’s Double White just might be my new replacement for Hoegaarden in the summer. Brew Works ran out of Bagpiper’s Scotch Ale so quickly that I didn’t get a chance to have my first taste of the season. As usual, the homebrewers brought their A-game, bringing some very funky beers in tow.
I pondered before I even entered, and my suspicions were confirmed, if there was a garlic beer there. Of course there was, and it was insanely garlicy. I tried it, but couldn’t drink much because it was super overpowering. Interesting, and more drinkable, was a ginger beer. I don’t think I could do a pint glass of it, but it was pretty decent nonetheless. I was interested to try their brandy barrel saison, which as I understand it means they just dumped a load of brandy in it, was super strong and far too overpowering. Two of my friends in the homebrewers made their American Porter which is always one of my favorites.
The Easton Garlic Fest ival was a great way to waste a few hours and I’ll gladly return again. In the future I’ll preplan a bit more because after looking over the list of events afterwards I realized there was a lot that I had missed. I didn’t see a program being handed out at the festival itself so it would behoove you to print out the activities list for next year.
For more information check out http://www.eastongarlicfest.com