CREOLE varieties originate in Euzkadi (the Basque Country) and surrounding Spanish and French regions on both sides of the Pyrenees Mountains. They readily adapt to warmer climates and can be finicky growers in chilly winter climes but are well worth the extra attention. They are somewhat low growing with broad leaves. During spring growth, plants should be monitored for leaves that die, then collar and constrict emerging new leaves. Creoles generally bolt here in SW Oregon, their weak scapes seldom coil and are very tender, thus ideal for scape pesto. While they aren’t the largest of garlics, Creoles have outstanding storage capacity, excellent flavor and gorgeous deep red clove coloration. We see two basic types: smaller bulbs with fewer but larger cloves and larger bulbs which produce more yet smaller cloves. While there are lots of supposed varieties circulated by growers such as us here at Garlicana, there is certainly duplication, thus the diversity in this group is likely considerably less than the available accessions on the market. Then again, that goes for other groups of garlic as well. In any case, generally a pound of Creoles will yield 40-55 cloves. Creoles are $10 per ¼ lb; $16 per ½ lb; $25 per lb.
Rossa di Sulmona (aka Aglio Rossa): The former name merely translates as “red garlic”. We just call it Sulmona Red. This high yielding variety is from the outskirts of Sulmona in the L’Aquila province of Abruzzo region in central Italy. While the Abruzzo features a good deal of agriculture, Sulmona is presently more of a tourist destination. It was the birthplace of anarchist Carlo Tresca, a labor organizer who came to the U.S. in the early 20th century. He spoke out against communism, capitalism, fascism as well as the mafia and was unsurprisingly assassinated in 1943. The garlic has 8-12 blood red cloves. Its sweet flavor comes through when raw and holds well over its long storage life.
Creole Red: from a California virus free program, original source unknown. This basically means that a Creole type garlic was run through meristem tissue culture and propagated out from there and the name “creole red” was affixed to it. White bulb wrappers with 6-8 dark red cloves, it has a quite hot complex flavor. It features the largest clove size of the Creole types though not the biggest bulbs. The plants are vigorous and taller than other Creoles; however, they seem more prone to collaring than others too.
Donostia Red: from a market in Donostia, Euzkadi, aka San Sebastián, Northern Spain and widely grown throughout the region. It has 8-12 crimson cloves on bulbs with white wrappers. This is has been the most consistently productive Creole here and produces some 2 ½” bulbs.
Germindor: from southern France, it has 6-8 cloves, some quite plump, on small to medium bulbs with excellent flavor. 1/4 lb. limit
Guatemalan: spicy Creole that is likely the same as “Guatemalan Ikeda” which is from the village of Aguacatan in the western central highland province of Huehuetenango. The Awakateko speaking Mayans of Aguacatan suffered much violence and bloodshed at the hands of government forces during the early 1980s period of the Guatemalan Civil War. The garlic, which was likely introduced by the original bringers of woe, the Spanish colonizers, matures a few days ahead of the others. 1/4 lb. limit
Keeper: This is surely a variety that is in circulation under a different name. My sample came from my friends at Columbia Gorge Garlic who in turn got it from the late Walter Lyons who is, needless to say unavailable to ask where he got it from. It is one of the largest and vigorous Creoles i have grown so in spite of my reluctance to offer a variety for which origin data is unavailable. 1/2 lb. limit
Morado de Pedronera or Ajo Morado de Las Pedroñeras (basically, purple garlic from Pedronera) is from the Castilla-La Mancha region of Southeastern Spain. It is a commercial variety widely grown in four of the five provinces a region which devotes around 20,000 hectares to garlic. Its clove color is darker than other Creoles, closer to purple than red, and it is very pungent when given adequate sulfur, yet has that complex flavor that light sauteing brings out. Like Rose du Lautrec, this should technically be called Morado de Las Pedroñeras, when it is grown in that region. In addition to Purple of Pedronera, there’s also an early White (a Turban) an early Purple (also Turban), a Brown (Marbled) and a late White (Silverskin). 1/4 lb. limit
Moroccan: another 8-12 cloved Creole with it’s characteristic deep red cloves. It is a little less spicy than the other Creoles but fine flavored nonetheless. This is from an open market in coastal tourist city of Essaurira, Morocco by way of Amyo Farm in NM.
Rose du Lautrec: the name refers to garlic grown in a region of Southwestern France. Rose, in the flower trade, means “pink” There are supposedly four Creole varieties that can be called “Rose du Lautrec” if they are grown in that region: Edenrose, Goulurose, Iberose and Jardirose (no genetic fingerprinting has been done to verify whether these are indeed distinct). Which of the four this is, we don’t know. It is one of the smaller 6-8 cloved Creole types with plump cloves and the same fine flavor. Like all garlic, it’s flavor is influenced by soil and climate. How it expresses itself, how it tastes in your locale will not replicate how it produces in SW France. 1 lb. limit