Rome Travel Guide

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Saturday, August 17, 2013

Red Garlic from Sulmona--by the Cartload

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Every Roman street market--and there are more than a hundred--has its itinerant garlic peddlars, usually smallish guys who cruise the market, offering 3 bulbs for a Euro--okay if you need garlic. 
What I'd never seen, until one day at Piazza San Giovanni di Dio, was the sale of garlic from a cart.  The merchant, who had positioned himself just outside the market proper, where he couldn't be so easily accused of competing with those who had paid money to rent regular stalls, seemed to have found a niche in the market: red garlic from Sulmona (if the Italians don't know where it comes from, they won't buy it).  A bit of research revealed that red garlic is considered quite special: it comes only from the Sulmona basin and the Peligna Valley in the Abruzzo, and it's highly prized for its flavor (sweet, delicate, not bitter) and medicinal properties.  E3 per treccia (braid) or, ordered from the UK, L2.75 plus shipping.    Bill

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