(UPDATED COVERAGE, June 28) GILROY, Calif. — As preparations continue for California’s annual Gilroy Garlic Festival, organizers unveiled a new menu item to be served at the event’s Gourmet Alley.
Regular festival goers won’t be surprised to learn that the Alley Wrap goes heavy on the garlic. The wrap itself is a garlic-infused lavash from a local bakery.
It surrounds shrimp and tritip steak awash in garlic aioli, cilantro, cumin and other flavorings.
“It’s a ton of garlic,” said chef Ann Zyburra, co-owner with Adam Sanchez of The Milias Restaurant in Gilroy. “In a recipe for 40 people, there are probably three to four heads of garlic.”
The Alley Wrap and another menu addition, pasta con pesto, were served at a June 27 news conference at Solis Winery.
With all that garlic in the air and on the palate, festival president Kurt Svardal took the opportunity to announce a new partnership with Scope Mouthwash, a division of Procter & Gamble Co. Scope, Svardal said, plans to unveil the name of a new fresh-breath product at the 33rd annual Gilroy Garlic Festival, set for July 29-31.
Free samples of the Scope product are expected to be distributed throughout the three days.
However it may affect one’s breath, the new menu item is aimed at scoring points for convenience.
“It’s very easy to hold the wrap in one hand and a glass of wine or beer in the other,” Zyburra said. “We were looking for ease of consumption.”
Zyburra and Sanchez were among the chefs participating on an 18-member panel that chose the recipe, set to sell for $6 alongside event staples like garlic fries, stuffed mushrooms and calamari.
Gourmet Alley serves about 100,000 meals over the course of the event, said Kurt Svardal, president of the Gilroy Garlic Festival.
“That’s where the signature dishes from the festival are served,” Svardal said. “It’s a new dish for us. In today’s economy you’ve got a lot of people who don’t have a ton of extra money. We want them to be able to come to the festival, enjoy something and not have the attitude that it’s just the same festival as last year. A surf and turf for $6 is a great meal.”
“People who have been to the festival for years love the consistency of it,” Sanchez said. “But when they see something new, they want to try it.”
Among the event’s sponsors is Gilroy-based Christopher Ranch. In a typical festival, 2 tons of their garlic are served at Gourmet Alley.