Think twice before you take your girlfriend – the annual Easton Garlic festival this weekend is going to be stinky.
“Garlic infuses an entire dish with flavor; it can be really sharp when it is raw or it can be really sweet when it is roasted. Garlic is so versatile a vegetable and it is a food people are truly passionate about,” Jo Moranville, the Garlic Fest chairperson and founder as well as the owner of the Quadrant Book Mart & Coffee House, said.
Every October, Easton holds the garlic festival to celebrate the vegetable that has so many uses in culinary art. While the Easton Farmer’s Market remains the heart of the festival, local as well as regional market vendors and chefs gather in center square to prepare a variety of foods utilizing garlic.
This festival has been running for over 10 years. What began as a small event at the Farmer’s Market has grown into a two day festival, inviting its guests to adhere to the garlic tagline of “eat, drink, and stink” while participating in a variety of events including competitions, cook-offs, music, and an overload of garlic.
Popular competitions include the Three Mayors cooking competition, where Easton Mayor Sal Panto and two other mayors from the Lehigh Valley compete to cook the best garlic dish, and the recently added Dangerous Desserts contest, where sugar and garlic come together.
The “Farm to Market” Iron Chef Cook-Off holds true to Moranville’s beliefs on farms-to-market meals. Selected shoppers buy mystery ingredients from the market that chefs have must turn into a delectable dish in 30 minutes.
“We are trying to incorporate as much as we can into what we are cooking, so I’m glad to see that more people are into the farm-to-table philosophy,” Chef Goldman said. Goldman is hosting an event where culinary students from Northampton Community College will be learning and cooking alongside him, similar to a live Food Network cooking show.
This year, the festival has increased its live music and performances for the eaters, drinkers, and stinkers to enjoy when coming from as far as Syracuse and Boston to visit Easton. The festival has evolved into a weekend with crowds of 10,000.
“The whole point of the festival is and has always been to show off downtown Easton, Moranville said. “There are so many small merchants down here and it used to be that no students from Lafayette ever came down. The students should never underestimate the impact they can make on small businesses.”