Dan first learned about the Gilroy Garlic Festival when he was interviewing at Stanford, in early 2013. After our fantastic experience at the Shaker Heights Garlic Festival, we both agreed that this was on our list of places to visit in California. The festival has come up every few months since then. My brother, well known for his food/cooking/Bay area events knowledge, was talking about the festival, too. So now, nearly a year and a half later, we have fulfilled our goal. Nick, Dan, and I all had a slightly different idea of what to expect and none of us quite hit the mark. The festival is impressively well organized, starting with your arrival at the parking lot right through the variety of vendors, the efforts to keep the dry dust down, the speed of food service, and the mix of entertainment.
After parking in a neat row, we walked to the air conditioned charter bus to take us to the festival entrance. The fair spreads over acres with food vendors, children’s areas, cooking demonstrations, and gift items. As lovers of garlic, we found our bliss through garlic sausage sandwiches, garlic bread, beer-battered garlic fries, and garlic ice cream. The heat of the day also made our (non-garlic) smoothies especially tasty.
We visited a few cooking demos, which were fun, but I think my brother Nick could have blown them out of the water.
We also made a couple trips through the garlic ice cream line, where they gave away free sample of garlic ice cream. It had just enough garlic flavor to be noticeable, but it was well blended with the sweet cream of the ice cream.
We left happily with full stomachs, good strong garlic breath, and dirty feet. I think these are all the signs of a successful garlic festival!