The scent in the air announces your arrival before you even realized you’re there. The delicious aroma of garlic is all around you… welcome to Gilroy, the “Garlic Capital of the World” and home to the famed Gilroy Garlic Festival, held every year in July.
You don’t have to travel off the beaten path in order to experience all the garlicky-fun Gilroy has to offer though. One of the biggest garlic shops in Gilroy is located right off of the 101 freeway and provides everything garlic you could possibly want.
Garlic World is an amazingly fun store. It even has the World’s Longest Garlic Braid! That, plus all the garlic arts and crafts on display, make Garlic World feel part museum, part grocery store. You can buy all sorts of garlic merchandise, and they sell garlic prepared in every way imaginable: minced, pickled, crushed, fresh, dried, stuffed into olives, cooked in sauces…
And the best part is, they have a station where you can sample all the goods. Yes!! I came home with a jar of habanero garlic stuffed olives.
But the real piece de resistance is the garlic ice cream. It sounds kind of weird, and in all honesty, it tastes kind of weird too. But you have to try it, if for no other reason than to be able to gross out your friends and family back home. The chocolate has a much milder garlic taste than the vanilla, but both leave you tasting garlic in your mouth for the next couple hours.
So if your travels take you along the 101 freeway in central California, roll down your windows, take a deep breath, and spend a few minutes trying some of the best garlic in the world.
Garlic World, 4800 Monterey Highway (U.S. 101), Gilroy, CA 95020, http://www.garlicworld.com/