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Welcome to delicious Destinations, a GourmetStation blog. Through the charater of T.Alexander and occasional real-life guests, our aim is to share with you light-hearted fun ideas about food, gift giving, entertaining and culture. At the same time we would love you hear from you. Please share your experiences from home or abroad.

National Garlic Day (Thur. April 19, 2007)

Posted: April 18, 2007
by: T.Alexander

GILROY, Calif., April 16, 2007 — For thousands of years, garlic has held near mythical status.  Egyptians worshipped garlic and folklore has touted garlic’s power in warding off vampires.  And even today, garlic’s nutritional properties, from fighting colds to preventing cancer, coupled with the herb’s unique flavor, are helping to keep garlic in popular demand among home chefs everywhere.  With all of these benefits packed into one single clove of the infamously-coined “stinking rose,” there’s even more of a reason to crack open a bulb of flavorful California-grown garlic on April 19th in celebration of National Garlic Day.

Flavoring Up Dishes

Today, Americans consume more than 250 million pounds of garlic annually to add flavor to many meat, poultry and seafood dishes.  Consumers are also calling for more of the herb at their favorite restaurants across the United States, as evidenced by Nation’s Restaurant News’ 2006 survey, where 21 percent of respondents indicated that they’d like to see more garlic dishes on the menu. In fact, garlic was the second most requested ingredient/menu choice after “healthy” items.  Garlic even stands alone as the primary ingredient in new “adventurous” food items including garlic ice cream and garlic jellybeans.

Keeping You Healthy

It addition to garlic’s flavor, research has shown that it can help keep you healthy.  According to Tufts University, researchers in Italy found that both onion and garlic were linked to significant reductions in certain cancers.  Those consuming the most garlic showed a 25 to 88 percent reduced risk, depending on the type of cancer, compared to those eating less.  Studies have also found that daily garlic consumption can reduce the risk of catching a cold by half.  And garlic has been found to be effective in treating the "superbug," a germ that usual antibiotics won't kill.

Heading to the Garlic Mecca 

For those of you wanting to celebrate “National Garlic Day” all year round, head to Gilroy, Calif., the garlic capital of the world and home to one of the largest garlic growers, Christopher Ranch.  While there, make sure to stop by Garlic World, where you’ll find a large selection of signature foods and novelties from garlicky olives to garlic pistachios: http://www.garlicworld.com/.  And, make sure to mark your calendars for the 29th annual Gilroy Garlic Festival, July 27-29: http://www.gilroygarlicfestival.com/.  More than three million have made the pilgrimage to Gilroy to attend the world-famous event, co-founded by Christopher Ranch.  With, on average, more than two tons of fresh California-grown garlic — courtesy of  Christopher Ranch — used each year to prepare beef, pasta and seafood dishes, not to mention 750,000 garlic fries, this three-day event is bound to appease every garlic connoisseur’s palate.

Recipe For Garlic Artichoke Dip

1 cup marinated artichoke hearts – drained, finely chopped

1 cup Parmesan cheese

1 cup mayonnaise

1 small can chopped green chile peppers

4 cloves of fresh California-grown garlic – crushed

Mix all ingredients in bowl, spoon into baking dish and bake for 20 minutes at 350°.  Serve warm or cold on crackers or bread.

For other flavorful and fresh California-grown garlic recipes, please visit http://www.christopherranch.com/recipes.htm.

About Christopher Ranch

Established in 1956, Christopher Ranch grows, packs and ships more than 60 million pounds of fresh California-grown garlic each year for retailers and foodservice while continuously improving farming, food safety and good agricultural practices.  The Ranch, owned and run by the Christopher Family for more than 50 years, has grown into a major international agribusiness with 600 employees year-round and a seasonal harvesting crew of 1,200 working its 4,000 plus acres of fresh garlic, bell peppers, shallots, Bing cherries, and sweet corn.  Christopher Ranch is co-founder of the world famous Gilroy Garlic Festival that takes place July 27 through July 29, 2007. To learn more, please visit our Web site at http://www.christopherranch.com/.

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