The area around the small mountain foothill town of Caraglio in the Grana Valley has long been particularly suited to the cultivation of garlic. Thanks to the proximity of the Alps, the winters are cold and snowy, while the springs and summers are cool and breezy. This microclimate gives the garlic a delicate flavor (when cooked, but also raw) and makes it easy to digest.
The garlic is sown in autumn and the plants are cultivated according to traditional techniques, tended by hand, with no synthetic chemicals and a three-year rotation with legumes (like lentils and beans), grains (like Ottofile corn and barbarià, an intercropping of rye and wheat used in the past by farmers to make a particular flour) and other crops (like potatoes and cabbage). The soil is fertilized with cattle manure.
The plant is vigorous and hardy. The bulb is small (20-60 mm) with tapered cloves and wine-red streaks. After the harvest, the bulbs are dried on racks and then packaged, all by hand.
Heritage Caraglio garlic has delicate perfumes and aromas, which are echoed on the palate. Its flavor persistence makes it the ideal ingredient in typical Piedmontese dishes like soma d’aj (bruschetta with country bread, garlic, extra-virgin olive oil and salt), bagna cauda (a garlic and anchovy dipping sauce) and bagnetto verde (green sauce).
Heritage Caraglio garlic is harvested on feast day of Saint John the Baptist, June 24. It is ready to be consumed after at least 40 days of drying.
In the past few years, thanks to a small local consortium, cultivation has been revived, but only recently have the producers been able to recover the original ecotype, thanks to a Caraglio family who preserved the authentic seed.
Every year the producers select the best cloves and exchange the seed through the consortium, to ensure the plant’s vigor and adaptability.
The Presidium was started to support the consortium’s work and to promote the product, with the aim of also encouraging a revival of garlic cultivation on some marginal, abandoned plots of land and gradually involving new producers.
Caraglio municipality, Cuneo province
Presidium supported by
Banca di Caraglio, del Cuneese e della Riviera dei Fiori – Credito Cooperativo
Via Paschera San Defendente, 39
Tel. 340 1624320
Via Regina Margherita, 125
Tel. 328 4882371
di Sandra Arneodo e Debora Giarino
Via Roma, 1
Tel. 0171 618856 - 347 9095702
Frazione Vallera, 119
Tel. 340 7267432
Via Rittanolo, 26
Tel. 339 7325769
di Annamaria Oggero
Frazione San Lorenzo
Tel. 320 3466106
Valter e Serena Rinaldi
Via Castelletto Stura, 4
Tel. 320 2375802 – 3358168321
Frazione Paschera San Defendente, 62
Tel. 0171 817286 – 335 8099056