If you had to guess where the Garlic Capital of the World is, what would you say? Somewhere that’s like, completely full of vampires, right? Like Romania. Or at the very least, Collinsport, Maine.
But what if I told you that the Garlic Capital of the World is actually just off the 101 in the middle of the desert somewhere around Salinas??
Would you ever believe that the Garlic Capital of the World is….
Full disclosure: Gilroy is not the number one producer of garlic in the world, but it *is* supposedly home to the most extensive garlic processing. You can get garlic in any expression imaginable – whole, minced, pickled, powdered, braided, ice-cream-ed.
And so, since we had to travel north on the 101 anyway, we decided to make a stop to pick up my favorite cooking ingredient from its natural habitat.
The first stop was Garlic World, which is actually the second garlic shop you pass on your way north (we were so excited to be in Gilroy that we missed the first one, whoops).
How excited were we to arrive at Garlic World?
Garlic World is like a big grocery store that just happens to specialize in garlic. They’ve got tons of farm fresh goodies in the first room you enter (all farm produce is fresh as can be in California because the weather’s just right for it all the time).
There are dips and sauces and every possible combination of garlic-and-something flavoring you can think of. There’s something called a garlic braid, which is, as far as I can tell, just a fancy way to show off and store your dozen garlic bulbs.
However, since we *are* purists about our traveling experiences, we turned around in some business’ back alley and revisited the first garlic stop that we’d initially missed, the Garlic Shoppe.
The Garlic Shoppe is smaller than Garlic World, and it’s more down to business. Everything in there has garlic. Garlic ice cream, garlic hot sauce, garlic jelly, garlic dog treats (ok, I totally don’t know about that last one, but I wouldn’t have been surprised).
If you find yourself traveling along the 101 and you love garlic, stop into Gilroy! It’s a short detour to get some of the neatest garlic products you can imagine. Even if you can’t make it to Gilroy, you can bring home your own Gilroy garlic by visiting the websites of the two garlic shops featured here – they’ll ship it anywhere in the US!
And look for upcoming Jelly of the Month Club posts where we’ll tell you all about the jellies we bought in Gilroy, too!