All the Garlicky Things I Ate at the Cleveland Garlic Festival

Tuesday, August 27, 2019


I cannot fathom how there are people out there who don't like the taste of garlic. I get not liking the lingering garlic aftertaste of garlic that sticks around, like, forever, but disliking the taste of garlic itself? That's beyond me. Truly.

Each summer, the North Union Farmers Market hosts its annual fundraiser, the Cleveland Garlic Festival, in Shaker Heights, just outside the Cleveland city limits. My friend Brittany was in town for the weekend, & she was more than happy to hit up this quirky festival with me for the first time.

Here's what we tried:

1. Garlic sugar cookie
This was the first thing I bought, & it was nowhere near as gross as it sounds. It only had a little bit of a hint of garlic - & actually, after I'd eaten some more garlicky foods & went back to finish off my cookie, I could no longer identify its garlic taste.

2. Garlic cheddar biscuit
This, too, was purchased from The 3 Aprons, which made the sugar cookie, & I was tempted by it because they were fresh out of the oven. Who can resist pipin'-hot cheddar biscuits?! They, too, were only lightly garlicky - & very, very delicious, perfect for that day's slightly autmnal weather.

3. Garlic fries
After reading Bite Buff, I learned that Brittany & I went to the "wrong" fry vendor, La Campagna, which puts garlic in the herb mix that tops its French fries & then offers chopped garlic to go on top. Apparently Cafe Avalaun offers garlic aioli instead! But, I mean, I guess I can't really complain about garlic French fries, right?! Right.

4. Garlic vanilla popsicle
I know, I know, this one sounds way out there, but I swear it was tasty! It was a bit of a weird experience, I admit, because there were little chunks of garlic frozen in the top of the ice pop, especially. This is presumably because they're frozen upside-down in molds, so everything sinks to the bottom - a.k.a. the top of the popsicle. Still, by the end of the dessert, I was thinking I would buy a whole box of Pop Culture CLE sold them year-round!

5. Spicy pickled garlic
At the BJ's Garlic Farm stand, I tried a sample of pickled garlic - just, like, whole cloves.I don't do a lot of cooking, so I don't know how I'd ever use them (can you snack on whole garlic?!), but they sure did taste good.

6. Garlic pickle chips
I liked these so much that I bought a whole jar of 'em, the first time I've ever liked pickles so much that I wanted to just eat them plain & snack on them solo. They're available online, too, if they appeal to you!

6. Garlic cheese
The Ohio Cheese Guild was offering $5 make-your-own cheese plates, with tons of cheeses to choose from - all made in the Buckeye State, of course. They weren't all garlicky, but I really loved the one that was, which was spreadable & came on a cracker.

In other words? All garlic everythingggg. When we walked into the festival, I literally said, "I'm not eating anything that doesn't have garlic in it." And later, when Brittany went to order mac & cheese but learned that it didn't include garlic, she decided not to get it, after all.

Unfortunately, I couldn't try the garlic ice cream from Mitchell's, which I'd been really excited about, because it include truffles (& I'm allergic to mushrooms). But my disappointment led me to that popsicle, instead - & it was honestly probably even better than the ice cream would've been.

It was a really weird, fun festival, & we had a great time getting our garlic on. So would I go back next year? I'd (c)love to.

Disclosure: I was given two complimentary tickets to the Cleveland Garlic Festival, along with an additional set of tickets to give away on Instagram. All opinions are my own, & all food was paid for outta pocket. 

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