5 Facts About The Favorite Italian Ingredient: Garlic


Garlic: you know it, you love it, and it’s an essential element in Italian cooking. Brush up on some facts about garlic with us here at Giolitti Deli!

Garlic is a key ingredient in delicious recipes associated with countless cuisines, but none quite so much as Italian foods. The unique flavor adds an interesting zing to many traditional and contemporary Italian favorites. Read on for five fascinating facts about garlic that you can use to impress your dinner guests the next time you have pasta.

There Is More Than One Type

Like most vegetables, there are multiple varieties of garlic, each with its own unique properties. Most garlic is either “hard neck” or “soft neck,” referring to the flexibility of the stalk in the middle of the clove. Within those types, some have a strong flavor, like the soft neck Silverskin garlic, or the hard neck Racombole. Others have large cloves, like Artichoke garlic (soft neck) or Porcelain garlic (hard neck).

It Comes From Asia

Since garlic is so strongly associated with Italian recipes, many people assume that it is native to Italy. More than likely, it originated in Asia, however. Historians have found evidence of it being used in parts of Asia for over 7,000 years. From there, it spread through the Middle East, and then crusaders began bringing it home to Europe. From there, it spread to America with immigrants who brought it and planted it when they arrived. The climate here suited the crop well, and it thrived.

It Is Not Commonly Used In Northern Italy

Since garlic is a key flavor in the Italian cuisine staples we eat here, it is easy to assume that it is used all over Italy. It is actually not very common in northern Italy. Many of their signature dishes use it very little if at all. In southern Italy, it is a common ingredient in stews and sauces, and it is often used to preserve meat. Even in southern Italy, however, the garlic flavor is milder than it is in Italian-American versions of the dishes.

America Loves It

Since it grows so well here, and our versions of Italian dishes feature the flavor more prominently, it should be no surprise that Americans love and eat a lot of garlic. In fact, the average American eats about 2 lbs of garlic per year. If you eat at Italian-American restaurants or love pesto, you may even eat more than that. 

There Are Health Benefits Associated With It

Garlic is actually a very healthy food, which is good since we tend to eat so much of it. Garlic contains allicin, which may help to regulate blood pressure and blood sugar. Garlic has also been shown to be antibacterial and anti-parasitic, and it may help protect against heart disease and cancer.

Authentic Italian Cuisine From Giolitti Deli

Giolitti Deli is a full-service Delicatessen in Annapolis, MD, specializing in authentic Italian cuisine. Founded in 1992, we use the freshest ingredients to make time-honed recipes from scratch, with no MSG or preservatives. We believe in real food and offer many healthy options, including vegetarian and vegan menu items. At Giolitti Deli, we make our own sauces, mozzarella, grilled and roasted vegetables, bread, pizza dough, and desserts, and our sandwiches, salads, pasta, pizza, and entrees are made to order. Owner Mary Giolitti has combined her passion for great food and fine wine to offer Annapolis a true taste of Italy!

Team members who also make the business possible include Manager Kathy Hunter, Manager and Catering Director Cheryl Molesky, Head Baker Porfirio Diaz, Chef Alfredo Escobar, and Deli Manager Noe Merino. To contact us, please visit our contact page or give us a call at 410.266.8600. Also, be sure to keep up with us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and our blog!

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