Chefs and foodies consider rocambole to be the caviar of garlics because of their rich, savory flavor. Rocambole varieties are extremely popular with the most discerning cooks because the intense flavor makes for an unforgettable dish. It also helps that the cloves are easy to peel!
Spanish Roja - BEST SELLER! Great taste is their claim to fame, and its flavor is very strong, hot and spicy which tends to stay around for a long time. Rocamboles grow better in cold winter gardens and generally don't store well (maybe 4-6 months) with harvests coming early to mid-summer. Spanish Roja, an heirloom garlic (a garden plant whose lineage can be traced for 100 years or more), came to the Portland, Oregon area over a hundred years ago and was originally known as Greek or Greek Blue garlic. It is generally very productive with large foliage that is dark green and results in a fairly large bub sometimes over 2.5" in diameter. It grows well in cold winter areas, but does poorly in warm winter areas. Roja has thin bulb wrappers that have a lot of purple and brown in them. For those up North who want to grow their own garlic, it only takes a year or two to grow all you can eat. It harvests in mid-season along with most of the other Rocamboles.
Carpathian - Carpathian came from the mountains of the same name in Southeast Poland and is sometimes called Polish Carpathian. Carpathian generally have good sized bulb sometimes around 2.5" in diameter. Being a Rocambole garlic, its flavor is very strong, hot and spicy and sticks around for a long time. Their rich flavor profile makes for a great chef's garlic used in all sorts of dishes. It is also a great variety for pickling! Carpathian grows well in cold winter areas and usually grows fairly uniform sized bulbs. It has thin bulb wrappers that have quite a lot of purple and brown in them along with some reddish-orange veins. Carpathian usually has anywhere from 8 or 9 easy to peel cloves that are of good size, with no smaller inner cloves. The outer bulb wrappers are thin and flake off easily so it is not a great storing garlic, but its flavor profile is the real asset of this variety.
German Red - A true connoisseur’s garlic, this heirloom variety was obtained from an old Idaho homestead where it had been grown for over 100 years. Cloves have a hard-loose wrapper that makes them very easy to peel. This complex and unique garlic variety has many double, inner-and-outer cloves compared to other garlics which typically makes them much better to eat than to plant. We’re not saying you shouldn’t plant this variety, but they are certainly a labor of love when cracking/planting time arrives. Your reward comes at harvest-time when you crack open a bulb of this distinct variety to use in your favorite dish! The bulbs can grow very large if given optimal growing conditions. German Red loves well drained soil enriched with organic matter and manure; the more you add the bigger your yield. It requires very well drained soil or the cloves will rot and/or the garlic bulbs will not keep well after curing. German Red is not recommended (or any other rocambole variety) for Southern climates.