A seasoning with a distinct scent gets its moment in the sun at the Delray Beach Garlic Fest (561-279-0907), taking place January 29-31 in downtown Delray Beach. Now in its seventeenth year, the festival celebrates garlic’s culinary possibilities with a chef cooking competition and an array of garlic-centric dishes and products.
Chefs celebrate garlic at the 2015 Delray Beach Garlic Fest.
Photo by VMA Studios
The festival also highlights the health benefits of its namesake ingredient—and there are quite a few. According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, garlic is rich in antioxidants, and consuming it regularly can maintain heart health by slowing down atherosclerosis—the hardening of the arteries—and lowering blood pressure by 5-8 percent. A natural blood thinner, it may aid in preventing heart attacks and stroke as well. Studies also show garlic’s antibacterial qualities can strengthen the immune system and ward off the common cold. And, as outlined by the National Cancer Institute, there is a notable association between increased garlic intake and a reduced risk of certain types of cancers such as stomach, colon, esophageal, pancreatic, and breast.
To get the most out of every clove, consume fresh garlic because the benefits wear off with age. Also, chopping and mincing activates allicin, the compound that lends garlic its pungent smell and many of its healthy components. These benefits all lead to one conclusion: The health benefits of garlic are as strong as its infamous scent.
Photo by Gyorgy Papp Photography
The 411 on the seventeenth annual Delray Beach Garlic Fest:
- Garlic Fest kicks off with a special VIP dinner on Friday, January 29 from 6-8 p.m. Collaborative Kitchen ($100 per person) will bring chefs from Caffe Luna Rosa, Kapow Noodle Bar, Cut 432, and 50 Ocean to collaborate on a multi-course meal paired with a variety of wines from Republic National’s portfolio.
- On Saturday, January 30, the fire will hit the skillets for 2016’s Garlic Chef cooking competition at Garlic Fest Stadium, featuring four chefs competing for a chance to take on 2015’s reigning champ, Chef Bruce Feingold of Dada’s. Eric Baker of Max’s Harvest will take on Danielle Herring of The Rebel House in round one at 11 a.m.; followed by Chris Reichart of Hudson at Waterway East vs. Winston Williams of Catering CC at 3 p.m. The concept is simple: In true Iron Chef fashion, contestants are presented with a basket of ingredients, of which one ingredient they have no prior knowledge, and are given an hour to prepare and cook a salad, an appetizer and an entrée. Semifinals pickup on January 31 at 11:30 a.m., with the Finals taking place at 3:30 p.m. Between rounds, there will be cooking demonstrations on Saturday, and Kids Cooking Competition on Sunday.
- Throughout the festival, Gourmet Alley and the Cloves and Vine Wine Garden will serve up a plethora of garlic-heavy bites. Expect to see fan favorites like flaming garlic shrimp scampi, the garlic crab cake platter, and garlic ice cream as well as some specialty dishes like garlic pizza, garlic Portobello sandwich, and grilled garlic Argentine barbecue.
- Kids can enroll in Garlic University, where they’ll learn how to grow their own sustainable garden and take home a potted garlic plant to tend for a future meal. For the non-cooking type, the Children’s Area will include rides, games and activities, and arts and crafts.
Main Stage entertainment includes:
- January 29: Spred the Dub, 6-7:30 p.m.; Iration, 9-10:30 p.m.
- January 30: Pat Roddy, 11 a.m.-12:30 p.m; TKBlu Band, 1-2:30 p.m.; The Jeffrey James Gang, 3-4:30 p.m.; Fabulous Fleetwoods, 5-6:30 p.m.; Chopped Up Tulips, 7-8 p.m.; Taking Back Sunday, 9-10:30 p.m.
- January 31: Banyan Creek Drumline, 11:30 a.m.-12 p.m.; Turnstiles – A Tribute to the Music of Billy Joel, 1-2:30 p.m.; Highway Run – Journey Tribute Band, 3-5 p.m.; Andy Childs, 5:30-6:30 p.m.