Surprising is the fact that Albania is importing a substantial quantity of dry garlic from China, while the region of Korça has been traditionally a supplier of garlic. The fact that the garlic comes from a country so far raises questions about the freshness and level of preservatives in the product. Furthermore, dry garlic from China comes at a price 350 ALL/kg, while the products from Korça costs 450 ALL/kg.

The customer should be directed towards the Albanian products, as not only the absence of preservatives guarantees the highest quality, but also because of the freshness of local Albanian garlics.

Albania imports garlic primarily from China and Spain. Spain is the largest producer of garlic in Europe, while China is responsible for nearly 80% of world’s garlic supply. Chinese garlic has long been a subject of debates around the world and unfortunately for us – the Albanian consumers, not for good reasons.

Chinese garlic is criticized for its quality. First of all, Chinese garlic is bleached. This happens for numerous reasons, among such are to kill insects, to whiten the garlic, to stop sprouting.

Secondly, Chinese garlic is often treated with methyl bromide, which is a toxic chemical, to get rid of any bugs. Chinese garlic is also known to be sometimes contaminated with lead, sulfites and other unsafe compounds, as result of environmental pollution situation in China.

Lastly, Chinese garlic may be treated with growth inhibitors and is subjected to cold temperatures, as well as over storage, think about it enduring a three-week boat journey from China to Albania. Over storage is particularly problematic as levels of garlic’s magic component allicin, mentioned above, start to decline over time.

Lucky for us, spotting Chinese garlic is easy. Garlic coming from other countries, including the homegrown one, has usually some roots left on the bottom, it is heavier than Chinese counterpart and has more evident aroma and more flavor./