Since I first attended the Hudson Valley Garlic Festival, the event has grown to monstrous proportions.
What was once a quaint celebration with a small town feel has grown into a behemothÂ and the two-day affairÂ seems at risk of becoming a victim of its own success. The vast remote parking lots, shuttle busses andÂ hordes of garlic hungry sample zombies were almost too much to bear.
Yes, sample zombies.
You’ve seen them. They’re the folks who shuffle mindlessly past every booth at farmers markets and food events, not in search of brains to eat, butÂ cheese, relishes, exotic olive oils and dipping saucesÂ — and in this case, many different varieties of raw garlic.Â They lurch from table to table stabbing at tidbits of food with toothpicks,Â elbowing past other sample zombies for their share of the bounty. Â Mmmmmm… foooooood… gooooooood…
The most patient and persistent sample zombies can make a meal of the tiny morsels, one smallÂ nip at a time. Me? I prefer to feed in large hearty bites and find sampling to be exquisitely annoying.
And how about that garlic? Some varieties were noticeably sharper than others and a few had a taste that snuck up on you, the way hot sauce sometimes takes a minute to really hitÂ home — but overall, the different types of garlic all tasted very much the same.
I couldn’t begin toÂ guess how much raw garlic I ate, but I will say this: I stunk of garlic the next day. The fragrance oozed from my pores and orifices like nobody’s business; while sample zombies may have been a problem over the weekend, vampires were not an issue.