Hard Neck Garlic (Allium sativum ssp. ophioscorodon) is closer to wild garlic, with complex flavours. These are the garlics that some compare to wines with subtle differences that reflect the regional soil and weather patterns of various areas. The “neck” in the name refers to the stalk that grows upward from the garlic bulb. Hardnecks have a stalk that stems from the center of the bulb and turns rigid at maturity. Softnecks stalks are made up of leaves rather than a central stalk.
Having harvested much garlic over a number of years I came to admire the hard neck garlic stalk for its sensual qualities. Discarded in the harvesting of the bulbs, I would sift through the necks looking for the most graphic stalks, those which had a graceful beauty to them, those conveying the litheness of choreography, almost of a dancer in motion – growing.