The Gilroy Garlic Festival is exactly what it sounds like: it's a garlic festival in Gilroy.
It's like Coachella for foodies.
Gilroy can be excruciatingly hot in the summer. Hubby and I were prepared though, we had cooling wet towels, frozen water bottles and a big-ass appetite.
We meant business.
First thing I headed for were the famous Crab Garlic Fries. Nothing like garlic fries for breakfast.
They were life-changing.
Crispy perfectly seasoned fries, topped with a garlic sauce that I'm pretty sure had a mayo base. The best part was the crab. The sweet succulent crab.
Gourmet Alley is a must, so don't fill up on food before you get to that section of the festival.
There were tons of food items marinated, seasoned and swathed in garlic. I tried a crunchy and sweet pickled garlic that had completely lost it's raw garlic bite.
Then there was the garlic ice cream which is something to try but not something I would ever crave.
There were so many items to try that even the pickiest of eaters (ahem, my husband) are sure to find something they like.
One of my favs were the mushrooms stuffed with garlic and parmesan, which admittedly isn't the most original food item but it was executed so well that I ate them all in 30 seconds. Or less.
The shaded Wine Pavilion is a great stop to cool off and get a buzz going.
I tried a blended mimosa (which was just a mimosa over crushed ice) and went back for more.
Then, with a full belly and a cloudy mind, I stumbled upon something that made me wish I was a kid again:
What's that you ask?
It's a trampoline filled with water and little kids in bubbles.
I was too tall and too ashamed to get in a bubble, so I took photos of the kids and lived vicariously through them.
First they zip open a deflated bubble and have the kid get inside it:
Then they make the child cover their ears while they use a leaf blower to inflate the bubble (not sure how safe that is for their little earbuds).
Once the bubble is filled, they zip it back up and roll you into Bubble Boy heaven:
Man, it's good to be a kid...
I suppressed my nostalgia and told myself that being an adult is fun too.
Another cool part of the festival is the guys cooking on huge grills with flames that reach up to 100 feet.
I snapped a few pics of them cooking a garlicky and limey shrimp dish that smelled like garlic heaven, which I'm 80% sure exists when we die.
They cook the food for a bit:
Splash some wine:
Let it flambé:
And then show you the dish with such pride, I felt like I should salute:
They didn't let us taste it though, which seemed like cruel and unusual punishment.
All in all, it was a great experience.
- Get there as early as possible to avoid the traffic and sweltering heat.
- Wear comfortable shoes, light clothing and bring a hat.
- Bring a towel or cooling cloth to soak in water and place around your neck.
- Bring several frozen waters and a good attitude.
- Food is super overpriced and the portions are small, but it's all for charity.
Oh, and have fun!