Wednesday 27 February 2008
Rose de Lautrec garlic
First up, if you're one of the many, many people to whom I owe emails or packages of seed or whatever else, please accept my apologies for being slow at the moment. I'm swamped, and it's going to take me a little while to clear my inbox. I'm trying to keep the blog going in the mean time though.
Last autumn I bought a manouille (bunch) of Rose de Lautrec garlic at a French market in Brighton, while I was down there visiting my music collaborator. There was plenty of it, so I had lots to eat and to plant.
Rose de Lautrec has its own official website complete with obligatory romantic story about its medieval origins. It's a hardneck type and reputed to be very longkeeping. It's also reputed to have a "sweet and subtle" flavour, but I'm not entirely sure about that. The bulbs I bought are searingly hot when eaten raw but the heat (and a lot of the flavour) disappears with cooking. I guess what's left is sweet and subtle, but it depends how you define it. To be honest I don't think the flavour matches up to my home-grown Music garlic, but maybe it's just my coarse English taste buds.
Actually Rose de Lautrec is not a variety, it's a Protected Geographical Indication. When it's grown outside the Lautrec region, it's not Rose de Lautrec any more. There are actually five different varieties permitted to be sold as Rose de Lautrec: the traditional Lautrec Pink and four commercial versions, Ibérose, Goulurose, Edenrose and Jardirose, and I don't know which of them I have. But for all the controlled regions stuff, these pink garlic bulbs have the same genes in my garden that they have in Lautrec, so I will probably still get something worthwhile even if they aren't the same as the "original".
Meanwhile, the F2 peas are coming along a treat. I wrote yesterday morning that 30 seeds had already germinated. I counted them again the same day just before bedtime and there were 53. Then when I got up this morning it was 63. Only one left to go! They are amazingly vigorous considering F2 seeds are supposed to lack hybrid vigour. And already it's clear that they're all different. Even as tiny seedlings, some are whiter than others, thinner than others, shaped differently, or have red flushes on the stems in varying amounts.