I’ve been a long-time fan of garlic mainly because of its flavour, and its importance in countless recipes. It manages to enhance so many dishes! I’d always heard of its rumoured health benefits…not to mention its effectiveness in warding off vampires. Talking to some of the vendors at Perth, Ontario Garlic Festival taught me that garlic is used by many people as an anticancer medicine. Turns out science has many good things to say about this plant like its antioxidant, antibacterial and antimicrobial properties. And, get this, a Forbes magazine article said that men who eat garlic make women take notice...in a good way. Not to mention it purported value for increasing sexual stamina. People even say its cures the common cold! The key element in garlic is a compound called “allicin” – it is responsible for all the good things garlic brings.
I highly recommend a visit to this festival. After hearing about all of its benefits I bought enough garlic for my whole family for the next few months. The varieties are quite numerous – I bought Russian Red, Georgian Fire and one the farmer called “Italian.” There was also some pickled garlic which was delicious (bought four jars). My wife Sue had to drag me away before I bought a years supply. I ended up buying a piece of pottery with ventilation holes. The secret for long term storage is finding a coolish, dry and dark place…and, remember to use a container that allows ventilation like a mesh bag or a jar with holes.
The Perth Garlic Festival is held the second week in August every year. Make sure you spend the night so you can explore this picturesque little town. We checked out some of the shops and local restaurants. Our favourite eatery was Bistro 54, which featured terrific Italian fare.
One afternoon we rented a boat and went into the Lower Rideau and Big Rideau Lakes. We also visited the Beveridges locks on the Tay River, where my grandfather, Fred Dickinson, spent the summer of 1904 camping with two buddies when they were just fifteen. It was magical…and so peaceful.
Our final surprise was finding Top Shelf Distillers. I talked to the “Moonshiner” Andy Hawkins (who hailed from New Zealand) about their myriad of products – they feature many fruit based liquors and a fine vodka…all interesting and well made. But, the real surprise in the surprise discovery was their gin…oh boy! It’s amazing…and it alone is worth the visit to Perth.
Bistro 54 – 613.267.5454
Perth Boat Rentals – 613.390.2628
Best Western Hotel – bestwestern.ca
Top Shelf Distillers – 613.201.3333 or firstname.lastname@example.org