Last year when I heard I had missed the first annual Cleveland Garlic Festival, I was pretty bummed. I’m not obsessed with garlic by any means, but it sounded like a cool, Cleveland event was taking roots. Thankfully for Clevelanders, the North Union Farmers Market organization kept the clove rolling and decided to repeat the fun this year.
This past weekend – September 10 and 11 – I enjoyed this year’s festival both as a vendor and as an attendee. And this being Tuesday, there’s only one way to recap my experience:
TEN THINGS THIS TUESDAY: MY WEEKEND AT THE CLEVELAND GARLIC FESTIVAL
1) BEING GREETED BY THE MONSTER GARLIC: As you drove up to the East side of Shaker Square, this is what welcomed you:
Yup, there was NO question I was at the right place!
2) MY HEADQUARTERS: It was a busy weekend as The Chubby Cook team set up shop on the North side of the square.
We sold roasted garlic pulled chicken sandwiches, roasted garlic hummus, roasted garlic confit and deep fudge brownies (no garlic, but lots of love). With all those hours logged, it didn’t take me long to earn this:
Social Media FTW!
3) OUR NEIGHBORS ACROSS THE WAY: This is what tempted me all weekend long:
The staffers at the Dewey’s Popcorn Shop tent were cool folks – and kept me well supplied with plenty of garlic popcorn samples.
4) COOL ARTWORK AND PERFORMERS: Early on Saturday, these artists created this neat chalk drawings…
You never knew what might coming down Shaker Blvd. Case in point:
5) TRYING GARLIC ICE CREAM: Mitchell’s Ice Cream had a variety of flavors available, but of course the roasted garlic with pink peppercorn was the natural choice of the weekend.
I have to admit, it was pretty good! It wasn’t “in your face” garlicky and the pink peppercorns added a fun crunch and spice. Such a unique ice cream experience!
6) LUSTING OVER PICKLES: I’m SO mad at myself for forgetting to go back to the South side of the square for a jar of these bad boys:
Guess I’ll just have to make a trip to fire food and drink… darn…
7) GETTING A BIT SPICY: If you haven’t tried Blaze Gourmet’s salsa yet, I would highly encourage it.
Their Raspberry Chipotle is my favorite! They also sell an array of spices and hot sauces. All so good.
8. CATCHING UP WITH FRIENDLY FACES: On Saturday, the Food Network’s newest favorite food truck contestant Chris Hodgson from Hodge Podge swung by our tent to say hi. Chef Hodge was there to demo in the Chef Demo Tent, where he made garlic hummus – using The Chubby Cook’s roasted garlic confit!
Many thanks again to Chris for bringing over that hummus sample after the demo!
On Sunday, I found Todd (@TheEventsGuru) holding down the fort at Judy’s Oasis’ stand where they were featuring some great gourmet middle eastern food. Always great to see a familiar face, Todd and I chatted about the festival – the weather, the crowds, the products:
…as well as chatting about other Cleveland events. Todd and the team at NEO Food Tours have got some crazy cool stuff planned for their September Gordon Square tour and their October Public Square tour.
9) EATING MY WEIGHT IN SWEET CORN: Don’t tell my boss, but I think I spent the most time at the Middle Ridge Gardens tent buying several ears of some awesome Ohio sweet corn.
They also sold some cups of wonderful tomato salad (on the right side of the pic) and crazy fresh wax beans. I made such great friends with them that they brought me a bushel of corn and a bunch of flowers at the end of the weekend! Many many thanks to the kind folks there!
10) SPENDING LOTS OF TIME WITH LOVED ONES: The Chubby Cook team rocked it out this weekend!
That photo was taken on Sunday at 6:30PM – after one long, rainy weekend. But we had a great time and this tweet sums it all up:
What’s your favorite way to eat or use garlic? If you attended this weekend, what was your favorite garlic dish?