Day out IOW: the garlic experience

16 Jun

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.

I like the invitation.  You can (perhaps) tell that on this first trip to the farm — yes, that’s right, we were on the Isle of Wight for four days and we went to the farm twice — it was raining.

It was actually pouring rain.  But through the power of garlic, we did not care.

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.

You’re free to walk around the farm.  Check out the scapes!  As tall as me!  (And I’m a whopping not-tall-at-all, but still, it was cool.)

On sunnier days, there’s a tractor ride through the fields.  Those are the farm’s highland cattle in the background.  My little Skye imps shouted “wee coos!  wee coos!”

Whimsical garlic cartoons are everywhere.

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.

Inside the shop is everything from books — including the farm’s Garlic Cookbook — to garlic:

This is (I believe) the Solent Wight garlic.  I had no idea there were so many varieties of garlic, all with different characteristics.

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.

A fairly typical kids’ menu, with some fun garlic additions.  But check the specials board — the most amazing things seem to show up there.

A whole roasted bulb (in that local rapeseed oil) with local granary bread and a rocket salad.

A chili dish with avocado, garlic mayo, sweet potato chips (fries), whole wheat wrap — and a bit of garlic ciabatta seems to have snuck on to the plate.  Wonder how that happened.

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.

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4 Responses to “Day out IOW: the garlic experience”

  1. Skipper June 16, 2012 at 2:24 pm #

    The Garlic Farm is a great place to visit. I once read that the Isle Of Wight produces the most Garlic outside of France although the french are reluctant to accept that the quality is as good as theirs !

    • Monique June 17, 2012 at 7:28 am #

      Now that we’re back I’ve been reading about The Garlic Farm and I am so glad we saw that road sign and visited! The Garlic Festival looks like a kick, too. Thanks for commenting, Skipper!

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Day out IOW: the garlic experience « Crumpets in Camelot » iowfarmshop.co.uk - June 19, 2012

    […] the original post here: Day out IOW: the garlic experience « Crumpets in Camelot {June 16, 2012} « Birthday Honours 2012 – full list Queen’s birthday […]

  2. Bolognese, Garlic Farm Style « Crumpets in Camelot - July 3, 2012

    […] I brought home a cookbook from our visit to The Garlic Farm and made the most incredible pasta sauce.  It may be my mission in life to […]

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