At Ontario Garlic Week, which takes place from September 23 to October 2 this year, is the hero of the week. As a relatively new event, this special week runs in partnership with the Toronto Garlic Festival, intending to celebrate the much-loved seasoning nationwide through culinary experiences and local markets and commerce. Although tailor-made for foodies, it also encourages people to try garlic in different ways and discover the different purposes of this iconic ingredient. But at the end of the day, the most important question is, would you like some garlic with that?
History of Ontario Garlic Week
Garlic is an ingredient that can very quickly divide people. You either hate it, or you love it. There isn’t really an in-between. And for years, people have been putting garlic on just about anything, from pizza to salad and even fish. But, very few people know that garlic is actually native to Central Asia, with China producing 80% of the world’s garlic. It even goes back as far as the ancient Egyptians, where it started out as a food flavoring before becoming a traditional medicine.
From the pharaohs and the pyramids to Ontario, Canada, where they take the pleasure of garlic to the next level, Ontario Garlic Week is an annual event that usually takes place at the end of October and runs into early November, however, it is subject to change. It’s now going into its second year of celebrations. It was created in 2021 by the team behind the Toronto Garlic Festival. As a result of Covid-19 and lockdown restrictions, the event had to find a different way to go on with their celebrations, so they decided to kickstart Ontario Garlic Week, where people could still go out and honor Ontario garlic and support local farmers and produce establishments from home.
In 2022 however, the plans are more extensive, with more in-person events planned and more safety protocols in place, like special dine-in gatherings at local eateries and various food and drink establishments championing their garlic offerings at special prices and unique combos. Over 35 food businesses across Ontario will be participating in the festivities. The reason for all of this? Ontario Garlic Week wasn’t just established as part of the Toronto Garlic Festival; its goal is also to support the five essential pillars of business in the country; farmers and rural development, food and beverage establishments, hospitality and tourism, and Canadian culture.
Ontario Garlic Week timeline
Archeologists discover well-preserved garlic in the tomb of Tutankhamun.
Previously regarded as a rare ingredient, garlic is planted and farmed in England.
John Gunn publishes the book “The Home Book of Health,” which features garlic prominently as a recommended diuretic for infections and as a means to help alleviate symptoms of asthma.
The Toronto Garlic Festival is created by garlic grower and farmer Peter McClusky.
Ontario Garlic Week is created by the team behind the Toronto Garlic Festival in response to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Ontario Garlic Week FAQs
Is it reasonable to eat garlic every day?
It may be beneficial to consume one to two cloves of raw garlic per day. Doses of up to 0.127 oz of aged garlic extract per day in supplement form have been shown to be effective.
Do garlic and ginger boost the immune system?
Garlic and ginger are rich in anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, antiviral, and antimicrobial compounds. As a result, including them in your diet may help keep your immune system in good shape.
Which is better, garlic or onion?
Even though they don’t appear to be nutritional powerhouses, experts say they are. Onions of all colors (including white) are high in vitamin C, B6, potassium, and folate, whereas garlic is high in vitamin C, B6, thiamin, potassium, calcium, phosphorus, copper, and manganese.
Ontario Garlic Week Activities
Shop for garlic at your nearest farmers market
The best place to find quality garlic is your local farmer's market, where you can find fresh produce and shop for this incredibly versatile ingredient. Perhaps look out for garlic grown in different regions and get a handful of them from other sellers; then, you can go home and take note of the flavors as you cook with them. Get the whole family involved and have some taste tests for fun. And give everyone some garlic to take home.
Take a virtual garlic harvest tour
The Toronto Garlic Festival has gone a step further regarding honoring this essential seasoning by creating a 360-degree live-action video tour of garlic being harvested. The video features Ontario local and farmer Simon de Boer in his fields and using a pair of virtual reality goggles, you get an up-close and personal look at the process.
Try a new garlic-inspired dish
We all have our go-to dishes when we want to cook with some garlic, like pasta, pizzas, and even some salads. But this time, in honor of Ontario Garlic Week, try something completely different. It’s always good to get out of your comfort zone, especially in the kitchen, when you can discover new recipes and find new favorites. Hey, you may decide to wake up and make a garlic smoothie one morning. The possibilities are endless.
5 Little Known Facts About Garlic
Garlic can be dessert
For centuries the country of India has been enjoying garlic as the main ingredient in desserts and sweet dishes, like their Lahsun ki Kheer.
It’s very good for you
It contains essential amino acids, which aid nearly every bodily function and make up the protein that forms 75% of your body.
Alliumphobia is the fear of garlic
Some people fear the taste and the smell of garlic, and they are known as alliumphobes.
Garlic is good for your gut
Scientific research has shown that garlic is very good for gut health, acting as a probiotic, and it can even help fight the common cold.
It has its own special day
April 19 is annually observed as Garlic Day, with people across the U.S. honoring this iconic ingredient.
Why We Love Ontario Garlic Week
Highlights fresh produce and farmers
Any special day or occurrence where agriculture and farmers can get some extra attention and income should be celebrated. We wouldn't have garlic if it were not for our farmers who put in the time and the expertise to grow beautifully fresh and dynamic garlic every year. This is why events like Ontario Garlic Week are so special. It gives these farmers more opportunities to sell their products and build relationships with the communities at markets and food stalls.
Encourages people to eat out and support businesses
Every year in Ontario, when we celebrate Garlic Week, there is a great tradition of eating out and people venturing to local establishments to support businesses. Dining out at a restaurant is one of the great joys of life, when we can be entertained and fed by someone other than ourselves, and where unique events like celebrating garlic are championed for everyone’s enjoyment.
Inspires foodies to try new things
We love how foodies can take just about any mundane ingredient and turn it into a feast or culinary experience, which is evident every year when Ontario Garlic Week comes around. People get excited to test new recipes and try new ways of preparing and cooking with garlic. This is an excellent way for home chefs to experiment, in the spirit of Garlic Week, when any other week, they may not necessarily decide to be adventurous. Trying new things can change the way we cook for the better.
Ontario Garlic Week dates