It's all about the timing. The garlic has to be fresh dug. Cloved but not cured. The skins are thick and need to be cut away with a paring knife to get to the tender kernel. From late May through early June we dedicate a lot of time at The Shop to Garlic. The young tender cloves will be buried in our favorite two-year barley miso and left to age, in the jar they will be sold in, for one year in the cave. People often ask me what my favorite product is that we make. I always dismiss this question with the usual, "What? Please! You are asking me to choose amongst my children." But this—June garlic fermented one year in barley miso—this is it. My favorite child.
Over the year the garlic ferments through. Umami rich, they are salty and sweet and pure garlic without the heat and volatiles. I can pop them like candy. They age beautifully. We have vintages going back to 2009 and the depth of flavor seems endless. But the miso itself is the reward for the patient. Garlic has permeated; so much so that you'd be hard pressed to cook this flavor into miso. Delicious.