Garlic of Vessalico


Garlic area of ​​origin of Vessalico

We are talking about a truly unique product of its kind, which comes from the renowned and prestigious, as well as eighteenth-century, "Fiera dell'Aglio": a type of garlic that is characterized by its pleasant aroma, rather intense spicy, but also by of a resistance, as far as conservation is concerned, much higher than other varieties.

The area of ​​origin of the Vessalico garlic is represented by the Arroscia Valley, which has a geographical position of considerable and certain interest, since it constitutes an obligatory passage for all commercial exchanges between the Piedmont region and Liguria.

Vessalico is the name of the town that is located exactly in the central part of the Arroscia Valley and undoubtedly occupies the best position for centuries, as far as trade and commercial barters are concerned.

Precisely in these places, the Garlic Fair originated which, a large number of testimonies, have allowed us to demonstrate how it began in the course of 1760, but it is an event that lasts up to the present day (the date on which it is celebrated on 2 July, excluding those years in which the event should be held on Sunday, anticipating it on Saturday).


Characteristics of Vessalico garlic

The peculiarities that refer to this particular variety of garlic are essentially constituted by the aroma, extremely strong, which is combined with excellent results with an all in all delicate and pleasant taste.

Furthermore, among the main characteristics of Vessalico garlic, we find the fact that it is particularly easy to digest and can be kept for long periods.

These particularities are obviously allowed by the fact that this variety of garlic is grown in a typically mild climate and within fields and lands that are quite suitable for hosting such crops.

As for the physical characteristics of the Vessalico garlic, it is interesting that the bulb, when it has not yet been divided, can count on about ten cloves, with a particular color that varies between white and pink and that occupies the outer part of the tunics.

Furthermore, it is important to underline that this type of garlic does not have any inflorescence.


Garlic production from Vessalico

The cultivation of this variety of garlic occurs within the typical Ligurian terraces (locally these territories are called "bands", for the simple reason that the crops are carried out on the hillsides).

The soil that characterizes the Vessalico garlic crops is always quite light and with an excellent amount of skeleton, while the plots alternate with fallow land, or other crops are inserted in rotation, such as mustard or horseradish.

The purpose of this alternation of crops is undoubtedly to ensure that the soil is not excessively used for the cultivation of Vessalico garlic, allowing a continuous presence of organic substances in the soil that favor this production.

The sowing operation must always take place during the period between October and January.

The bulbs are harvested during the last part of June.

In the immediately following period, the Vessalico garlic will have to go through a conservation phase, especially inside shaded environments, in which it can dry completely (it is precisely this mechanism that allows it to be stored longer), and then be intertwined within the typical "reste".

It is a practice that is part of the local tradition and that takes place in the morning or in the final part of the day, since it is necessary to use the highest level of humidity possible, to ensure that the leaves can favor the intertwining of the bulbs.


Vessalico garlic cultivation

As regards this delicate operation, it is necessary to bury the cloves one at a time, within a particularly soft soil characterized by a rather low level of depth.

The distance between the various plants must be between 10 and 15 cm, while there must be at least 30 cm between the various rows.

The burial must be carried out during the autumn season or in the final part of the winter one.

Vessalico garlic must be grown in environments in direct contact with the sun and does not require special irrigation.


You use garlic from Vessalico

Vessalico garlic is widely used in the cuisine and typical Ligurian dishes, as well as playing a first-rate role in the Mediterranean diet.

Not only in the culinary field: Vessalico garlic, in fact, is also particularly suitable for use in phytotherapy, since it can boast numerous beneficial properties.

In fact, Vessalico garlic is considered a good antibacterial, antihypertensive, anthelmintic and antioxidant.

The recipe, which takes the characteristic name of Aiè, was made for the first time in the places where the garlic of Vessalico is cultivated.


Garlic of Vessalico: Protection of garlic from Vessalico

An official resolution by the Comunità Montana Valle Arroscia made it possible to give a new legal regime to the garlic of Vessalico: in 1997 an agreement was reached between the producers of the area to be able to protect this variety of garlic in the best possible way.

The agreement came into force in 1999 and provides for the creation of a border area for the production of Vessalico garlic, but it has also worked hard to find producers who could still boast of having the original seed, or the part better than the garlic produced.

In addition, an association “Cooperativa A RESTA” has also been set up, which carries out numerous and rigorous internal controls to ensure that the cultivation of vassalic garlic takes place according to the established rules.



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Vessalico garlic

The Vessalico garlic has achieved great notoriety in recent years after the American CNN had ironized its wide use in food by Italians and the British BBC had declared and documented that "Vessalico's garlic is better than Viagra ”, promoting a real hunt for the product and a surge in sales in Great Britain.
The quantities available on the market, however, are unfortunately not adequate to the demand, since it is very difficult to cultivate the small terraces, clinging to the bare mountains of western Liguria where it grows on just seven hectares. The work is simple, but tiring: the furrows are dug by hand, the cloves are sown, soaked for one night (its bulbs have been handed down over the centuries from generation to generation), finally, the plants are collected and s 'intertwine to package the' reste 'characteristics.
An essential ingredient of the most traditional Ligurian condiment, pesto, garlic is the object of promotion as part of some initiatives such as the traditional 'Fiera dell'Aglio', which takes place in Vessalico on 2 July each year, the presence at the editions of the Salone del Gusto in Turin, as a Slow Food presidium to be safeguarded, representing a limited but great resource for the small towns of the Arroscia Valley.

Vessalico garlic is considered by chefs to be 'the Rolls Royce' of the various existing types and there are many kitchens in local houses and restaurants that display it on display as a decorative element.
[Viviana Spada]

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