Nobody bats an eye at salty-sweet combos like chocolate-covered potato chips or our 67% Sea Salt chocolate bars. So why is there such a strong response to the prospect of pairing chocolate with garlic?
Actually, sweet-and-savory flavor combinations are nothing new, and can often be incredibly satisfying due to the phenomenon of sensory-specific satiety, by which unexpected flavors uncover a sudden depth to our appetites.
In honor of the fresh culinary possibilities opened up by savory-sweet pairings, let’s check out 5 amazing ways to turn savory garlic into an astonishing sweet treat!
1. Sweet Garlic Varieties
Did you know not all garlic tastes the same? Like apples, different varieties of garlic have different flavor profiles, varying in strength, sweetness, bitterness, and depth of flavor. For instance, the Music variety of garlic grown for us by the Dyer Family Organic Farm right here in Ann Arbor is mellower and sweeter than your ordinary clove.
2. Candied Garlic
We all love caramelized onions — but why does garlic so often miss out on that ooey gooey super-delicious treatment? Foods as savory as bacon are delightful when candied, so why not this kitchen staple?
Some recipes use ordinary sugar, while others use brown sugar or honey to sweeten whole cloves. Some use vinegar, while others use wine for a bit of contrast. Experiment to see what works for you!
3. Garlic Cookies
In the Dyer Family’s book “Get Going with Great Garlic: Recipes from your Garlic Farmers’ Kitchen,” garlic cookies are described as a surprisingly satisfying sweet-savory after-dinner treat. This flavor layering lends them a more satiating nature, which makes them less likely to leave you desperate for endless more and more like some other too-sweet desserts.
Get the recipe here.
4. Garlic Brittle
Also a Dyer Family recipe, this candy was inspired by a strong positive reaction participants at a tasting event had to the pairing of a smoky garlic variety with almonds.
Featuring pureed garlic in a brittle of nuts, corn syrup, sugar, butter, vanilla, and salt, this recipe appears only in their book, which you can get here.
5. Garlic and Dark Chocolate!
Of course, our own favorite sweet-and-savory pairing has to be the sweet Dyer Family Farm Music variety with our own rich 77% dark chocolate in each Sea Salt and Sesame Garlic bar we make!
People react in such interesting ways when they hear about our garlic chocolate bar. Some raise their eyebrows, some make sure they’ve heard us correctly, and some offer surprise and enthusiasm along with a sense of adventure.
The truth is that you’ve likely already incorporated sweet-and-savory combinations that are just as strange into your diet. Take, for instance, honey barbecue, prosciutto and fresh fruit, maple and smoked meat — I’ve even ordered honey mac and cheese at restaurants before!
After all, the depth of flavor we can experience in pairings is not limited by our palate, but by our preconceived notions of what is acceptable. Opening your mind and mouth to new pairings opens you to new sensory experiences and challenges you to embrace new possibilities — so why settle for acceptable?here.