I don’t speak French, so when the kind lady at Avignon’s Les Halles market handed me a clove of garlic to taste I was hesitant. It was a big clove. She nodded her head encouragingly and I caught the word “sweet” out of the string of rapid-fire French. So I took the toothpick clove and trustingly popped the clove in my mouth.
It was soft, so sweet, and completely lacking in the sharp, pungent flavor of raw garlic. You could eat them like candy. Our translator told us the cloves had been aged in white balsamic vinegar for eight months. The result was edible white gold.
When I return from France I promptly bought a bottle of white balsamic vinegar and a large jar of peeled garlic cloves (trust me, you do not want the painstaking job of peeling multiple heads of garlic). And now they rest in their sweet vinegary bath of balsamic vinegar until March.
So what will you do with your vinegar aged garlic, you ask? Like their sweet cousin, black garlic, white garlic can be blended into vinaigrettes and marinades, puréed into sauces for an added umami flavor, smeared onto toast or crackers as an appetizer, rubbed over meat and fish before grilling, you name it.
And be sure to save that nice garlic-infused vinegar afterwards, too. It will make a lovely vinaigrette.