My sister-in-law came visiting today, and knowing my interest in things chocolatey she brought a curiosity along. This came from a friend of hers who recently came back from Japan. Naturally, we all thought this was Japanese. It wasn’t until I went researching the web site on the back of the pack that I found this actually comes from Korea.
The pack says, and has pictures indicating, that it is Black Garlic enrobed in chocolate. Until today, I’d never heard of Black Garlic. A quick Google search shows it is quite well known. It seems that Black Garlic is made by fermenting normal garlic in some kind of special magical patented process. And it’s claimed to be very different to normal garlic, without the odour, effect on your breath and so on. More digging reveals that this is a relatively recent product, without the “long history” sometimes claimed. In Korea it is thought of as a health food.
In spite of all this new knowledge, coating it in chocolate does seem a little strange.
Looking inside reveals a black sticky mass that has little odour, and has a slight resemblance to perhaps a sticky fig, or something else dark and very slightly gooey. The ultimate test, though, is taste. And this is pretty strange. The chocolate is really inconsequential. It is swept aside by the insides – the black garlic; which has only a very slightly garlic flavour. The taste is strange, and hard to describe. For me it was a bit like a combination of liquorice, molasses, a hint of garlic, something spicey (but I can’t pick which spice) and something I can’t place but is altogether just weird. Whilst not overpowering, the flavour is very rich and lingers for a long, long time after.
I can’t say this was an unpleasant experience, but nor was it particularly pleasant. I could manage 2 little “chocoballs” and that was more than enough. Had I the task of polishing off the packet, I don’t think I could manage it. However, some of our other lunch guests were brave enough to try and found them quite agreeable; which just goes to show how we are all different. Should you come across these in your travels, buy some as a curiosity to try out on friends and family. Expect a mixed reaction.
And if anybody can translate the Korean on the back of the back, please add comments so we know what it says!