Topaç garlic has been grown for generations in the small village of Topaç, within the Nevşehir province in the historical Cappadocia region of Turkey.
It is slightly larger in size than other varieties that are grown in Turkey. It is white in colour, and its skin is easily detached from the clove. Its taste and smell are rather pungent.
The Nevşehir region has a steppe-like continental climate. Winters are snowy and cold, while summers are hot and very dry, and droughts are common. The garlic is grown without irrigation, it is planted in November and harvested during the last week of June. It is preserved in warehouses that are made from caves, which are typical of Cappadocia, her the garlic can be optimally stored all year round.
Today, garlic cultivation and sheep farming are the main sources of livelihood for its 1200 inhabitants. The Topaç garlic is a very rare product, and the low levels of production cannot meet the demand.
The main thing that would threaten the existence of this garlic is if the less flavourful and more commercial and productive varieties were to be introduced within the region. Today, the villagers meticulously try to protect their bulbs and raise awareness of the uses of this ancient garlic, but the future is uncertain.
The garlic is used to flavour lamb, a traditional Anatolian food, and in particular Tava and Guvec, typical dishes of the Nevşehir region. Topaç garlic eliminates the intense smell of lamb meat, thus, improving its flavour.