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Wild Garlic carpets in Monmouthshire
Author: Michelle Dalley

I can still remember walking in the woods with my husband and our weimaraner Dragon just before we moved to Monmouthshire.  The woods were somewhere between Chepstow and Usk, lush green, stream flowing through it, perfect country walk. There was a smell, really powerful in the dewy morning and I could not believe that it smelt just like garlic. Everywhere.

Wild garlic is a wonderful thing, like a carpet in the forest, really pretty and found around the bluebells.  It has pretty white flowers but the key part for cooking is the green leaves, you can use the flowers but really they are a distraction.

I was reading on Twitter that people struggle to source wild garlic; all I can say is that you need to come to Monmouthshire. It can be found in most of the woods and we have lots of those! You need to look out for the green carpet, pick a leaf, crush it in your hands and smell it. You will soon know if it is garlic. The smell is unmistakable.

This weekend we have been out picking wild garlic and need to get cooking with it quickly, it doesn’t last too long before it wilts.  Some will be going into the fridge finely chopped for wild garlic butter, some for a primavera risotto base and then I will be making up a batch of wild garlic puree.

I found this recipe last year from Donal Skehan and made a few batches which I kept in my fridge and gave out to friends in nice kilner jars.  It’s brilliant stirred through pasta, as a base for bruschetta, and as a drizzle with a piece of good white fish such as cod.  Delicious, packed with punchy flavour and a feeling that something this green must be good with you.

This year I have made bottles of wild garlic oil, more pesto (with a bit of basil so it’s not too over powering) and wild garlic butter.  Fabulous!

Article by Michelle Dalley, Wild garlic advocate

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