A plateful of pasta cooked with garlic is never a wise choice on a first date. But if an odorless strain of so-called "kissinGarlic" takes off, diners may soon get to enjoy the taste of the pungent plant without the bad breath that usually goes with it.
As The Guardian reports, Italian entrepreneurs Alessandro Guagni and Lorenzo Bianchi are working to bring this garlic variety into the mainstream. Aglione is a milder, less fragrant type of garlic that's easier for people to digest. It's also much bigger than regular garlic, with some bulbs weighing more than a pound and a half.
The garlic can be traced back to ancient China, but it's all but disappeared from Italian cooking over the past few decades. When recipes call for it, modern chef often substitute the stronger strain of garlic most of us are familiar with.
Guagni discovered aglione three years ago while on vacation in Tuscany's Chiana valley. He purchased some from a farmer's stand and, after tasting its delicate flavor, felt inspired to revive the ingredient in Italian cuisine. Since then, Guagni has collaborated Bianchi, his childhood friend, to cultivate the garlic variety in Italy's Marche region. Harvest season is just a few months away, and the partners are currently trying to get their product into high-end food markets and Michelin-starred restaurants around the country.
The main difference between aglione's kissable taste and that of regular garlic can be illustrated with chemistry: When we chop into a whole clove of garlic, an enzyme called alliinase is released, which converts alliin molecules into allicin. Allicin is stinky, sulfurous, and unstable. It quickly breaks down into other pungent compounds, including allyl methyl sulfide, which can linger on our skin, breath, and sweat for days. Aglione doesn't produce allicin, which explains its lack of funky stench. Though it's still up for debate whether aglione is the better choice on date night: According to one recent study, women supposedly prefer the body odor of garlic-eating guys.
[h/t The Guardian]