Weakly Bolting Hardneck
Allium Sativum Ophioscorodon
Creole used to be lumped together into one category with other weakly bolting hardnecks (Asiatic and Turban) but like the other two have since been discovered through DNA testing to be a unique category of their own. Brought to the Americas from Spain by Conquistadors in the 1500's, these cultivars do best in warmer climates, like Texas, Louisiana, Mexico and the South of France.
Rose de Lautrec - Creole
There is a region in France near Toulouse called Lautrec (ever hear of Toulouse Lautrec?) which is famous for its pink garlic. The people there are extremely proud of their Creole garlic and they've named it Rose de Lautrec. Actually Rose de Lautrec is not a specific cultivar, but rather any of at least three different Creole cultivars that have been grown within a 320 hectare designated area. Rose de Lautrec is a copyrighted name and only that garlic officially recognized by the council of growers as having met the strict conditions under which it is to be grown and processed may use the name Rose de Lautrec... legally (we sell a cultivar originating from Lautrec and explain more on our Rose de Lautrec page).
So, why all the fuss? Creole garlics have a uniqueness of character (see "Tongue" below) that is unparalleled in the world of alliums. They are difficult to grow where it is cold and at Rasa Creek Farm we're experimenting to see if we can produce decent sized bulbs in the cold of the North Okanagan. We'll see, and so will you.
On the Tongue
Regrettably, we've not had many opportunities to personally confirm the wondrous tales we've heard of the deep, muskiness of Creole cultivars, but hearsay is all glowing and positive. Mild pungency (heat) coupled with out of this world flavor have made these cultivars a prize winner the world over.
In the Field
They typically mature early and have anywhere from 6 to 12 cloves, depending on the cultivar. Medium sized bulbils (70-100 per umbel). Another interesting feature is the 'snaggle-tooth' clove that often perches on one side of the bulb, popping off separately from the rest. Plants can mature quite late, and it's challenging, though rewarding, to get decent size scapes and umbels to mature. Creoles do very well, perhaps best, when spring planted immediately after snow-melt.
Cultivars We Typically Carry
Rose de Lautrec
An elusive bulb and rare to find in Canada, or anywhere in North America. Outstanding coloration is what distinguishes Creoles, along with their superlative garlicky taste.