There’s no competition for best experience on the Isle of Wight, but if there were, our experience at The Garlic Farm just might win. Although garlic probably has an unfair advantage in any competition.
The Garlic Farm was a completely unanticipated find on the island. As we drove from our ferry crossing (top of the island) to our hotel (bottom of the island) — (Again, you see why I get lost everywhere, with my oh-so-technical understanding of maps and the earth and stuff.) — we passed a sign for The Garlic Farm and cafe. We looked at each other with uncertainty — really? A whole farm devoted to garlic? A whole restaurant devoted to garlic? We put a visit on our radar for the next day.
The garlic sculpture, which was created in situ here in the farm courtyard. Am I the only one who thinks it looks kind of, um, well, nudge-nudge, wink-wink, say no more, say no more? It’s impressively large, let’s just leave it there.
Don’t laugh! In further proof that if you scratch the soil anywhere in Britain, you’ll find rubbish dating back thousands of years, the farm showcases some of the discoveries found while building and farming — including roman artifacts.
Oh, yeah. The taste experience that tastes you back — garlic. Inside you’ll find the many varieties of salsa, chutney, dips, dressing, butters, oils, etc, that the farm produces (and sells on site and online). As well as a cooking demonstration.
This young lady showed us how to saute scapes in a little rapeseed oil (that’s the local Isle of Wight Oil of Wight she’s using) with some fresh crushed garlic and salt and pepper. So simple and so delicious.
This video (from the Garlic Farm website) made me laugh (the Anglo Saxon love of garlic?) but gives a good sense of the place, and check out the beautiful allium flowers in the fields!
You won’t be at all surprised that I took photos of our meals at the restaurant, will you? You knew this was coming.
Tried the local cider. Which didn’t disturb me as much as some of my earlier cider tastings, but seemed like slightly off apple juice. I think I should give up on cider.
For some reason this was called a ‘changa’, which I found a little confusing until I looked up ‘changa’ — and then I found it completely confusing. Two poached eggs over asparagus and a soft herbed goat cheese, covered in chili oil, served with local bread. Oh. My. God.
For a final sweet treat — Jubilee cupcakes. We sampled quite a few more dishes than this, but seemed to start eating them before I could take a photo. Also, the best hummus I’ve ever had in my life was here — made with broad beans instead of chickpeas and, of course, plenty of garlic.
If we are lucky enough to get back to the Isle of Wight, the Garlic Farm will be a must-visit stop. Oh, and if you thought it didn’t get any better? They host yoga weekends. I really wanted to go to Paris for my birthday, but garlic and yoga? Now I’m not so sure.