Black Magic: Why Chefs Love Black Garlic


Photograph by Ted Morrison. Styling by Jessica Weatherhead/Team.

Imagine a plump, fruity raisin with a pungent, savory finish. That’s the gist of black garlic, a fermented allium that has chefs swooning over its fragrant, umami-rich quality. “It has this Guinness, molasses, caramelly thing going on,” says chef Jeffrey Fournier, who enriches mashed potatoes with the garlic at his Newton restaurant Waban Kitchen.

Created by fermenting whole bulbs at a high temperature, black garlic possesses a stickier, squishier texture than its raw sibling, with a funky, balsamic-like sweetness. “It has depth and earthy, unctuous undertones, but it also has zing,” explains chef Rachel Klein, of Asana. The powerful product may look exotic, but it’s easy to incorporate into dishes at home. “Use it like you would roasted garlic, but with a little more restraint,” says Coppa and Toro’s Jamie Bissonnette, who suggests folding it into pastas, blending it into vinaigrettes, or rubbing it onto crusty baguettes for a quirky take on garlic bread.

Black garlic can be special-ordered at Russo’s, in Watertown, or purchased through