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VIOLET GARLIC OF CADOURS

Some 60 miles west of the city of Toulouse, situated in rolling hills and within sight of the snow-capped Pyreneees, lies the village of Cadours. What distinguishes it from thousands of other French villages is that it is the home of the world renowned violet garlic.

Every week, from June to the end of November, gourmets, chefs and buyers from all over France flock to the 15 th century market hall, built like a miniature Parthenon in the village square, to bid for and buy what many consider to be the most subtly flavoured garlic in the world.

Especially marvellous roasted with chicken or lamb, its flavour will enhance the simplest meal without imposing an overpowering “garlicky” taste. Ideally it should be thought of as a vegetable, rather than a condiment.

Remy Fedrico, the farmer who grows this particular garlic, has won the Gold Medal at the Garlic Festival for three out of the last five years, both for its quality and for the beautifully ornamental tresses in which it is presented.

Although we are not allowed to call the garlic “organic”, Remy wouldn’t dream of treating his beautiful cloves with what he calls “poison”. Garlic must be rotated on a three-year cycle, but the maize and sunflowers - Remy’s other main crops - cannot be grown economically by organic methods. The garlic crop is not treated in any way.