Asparagus and wild garlic leaf in tempura batter

Bear necessities: wild garlic

When is wild garlic not wild? When it’s a bear, of course. If you’re looking perplexed, you’ll know how I felt scanning a restaurant menu in Monbazillac recently.

L’ail des ours? Really?

That’s what the menu said. Tempura d’asperges vertes et de feuille d’ail des ours.

I had always thought that les cartes were among my strong suits when it came to the French language. Seemingly not, on this occasion.

Fortunately, I had my phone with me so a few seconds on the Google Translate app put me straight.

Apparently, l’ail sauvage – the term I’m familiar with for wild garlic – is also known as l’ail des ours and l’ail des bois. I could probably have worked out the latter for myself, but bear garlic?

“The leaf revealed its full flavour only after a few seconds in the mouth – it had all the warmth of garlic”

Garlic, of course, is one of the staples of French cuisine, and France produces around 18,000 tons of garlic a year. It’s so popular as an ingredient that there are even festivals dedicated to it.

I was intrigued by it on the menu at Le Bistrot de Malfourat in Monbazillac, near Bergerac, when we were there a couple of weeks ago, so I ordered it.

There was huge food envy from my friends when it arrived.

The asparagus was as delicious as I had expected. On the plate was a garlic leaf that had also been fried in tempura batter.

The leaf revealed its full flavour only after a few seconds in the mouth – it had all the warmth of garlic and a gentle aftertaste.

It was terrific.

It’s put me quite in the mood for more garlic. I know there’s a traditional dish of poulet aux 40 gousses d’ail. Do I dare….?

This entry was published on Sat, 10 Jun 2017 at 08:08. It’s filed under Food and wine and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

6 thoughts on “Bear necessities: wild garlic

  1. No! When is wild garlic… not wild…. when it’s ‘HAPPY’!!….. arggghhhh….. looks fantastic…. nom nom nom…. I now will looking out for ‘ours’ on da menu … without the concern that I might be consuming ..Teddy or Winnie!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. You must make the dish of chicken with 40 cloves. It is delicious and at all too strong. Actually quite mild because of the way it is done yet so flavorful. Do give it a try.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. Wow the dish looks and must taste delicious

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Yes do the forty clove chicken. We plan to, with friends who will love it and who cares if we all breathe on each other!

    Liked by 1 person

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