This species is one of the finest types of garlic grown in Italy. In the past, it was a fundamental component of the flourishing vegetable-growing sector of the Valle Peligna. The bulbs of aglio rosso di Sulmona are enclosed in a wine-red skin. It is keeps particularly well (as long as a year if kept in a cool dry place) but is especially known for its very intensive smell, which is due to the high concentration of allicin. It is hung up in plaits, which originally was formed of 52 bulbs of garlic, one for every week of the year – this is proof of its tendency to last. At Sulmona, around 30 growers set aside the seed and continue to plant this increasingly rare type of garlic. In the eighties the production reached 2,700 quintals, but now it is around 500 quintals. Many of them are elderly farmers, but there are also some young growers who, having inherited farms from their parents, feel it is their duty to continue to cultivate this traditional crop.
Sulmona, L’Aquila province, Abruzzo