Posts Tagged ‘italian artichokes’
Ripieni di Salsiccia
There are some things that obviously do not translate from Europe to Australia. Winter is one of them. Sydney is in a climatically temperate belt and temperatures never dip as low as Europeans or most Americans would be familiar with during the colder months. I love that a European winter turns your apartment balcony into an extension of your refrigerator. Leaving milk on the outside windowsill is something I learned to do while living in Europe. This would definitely never happen in Sydney, Australia, where any food left outside of a fridge for a few hours will be approached with caution. Regardless of this, salami has to be made sometime, and it is the cold that determines when it should be done. In Italy my parents would customarily make enough salami for the year, plus a bit more. The period of Carnevale is the traditional time for slaughtering a pig and getting everyone on board to make the most out of every little bit of it.
Where on the whole planet is it best to have good friends? The correct answer, hands down, is the Mediterranean island of Sardegna (Sardinia). Although it is part of Italy, they have the benefit of being a good distance from the nonsense of the mainland while they maintain strong regional culture and revel in the isolation. I once saw a map of Italy made by depicting the foods that most represent the different regions. In this map, Sardegna was simply a block of pecorino cheese and an artichoke. Although that may seem simple and superficial, there’s no reason to deny what they know how to do best.
How many places can boast a view of a sunrise over the sea, a view of snow-capped mountains and a lazy sunset of rolling green hills that seemingly go on forever? My guess is not many; but come to hinterland area around Montelupone (MAP) in Le Marche and you got all that plus a cute little ancient hilltop town to roam around in. If you time it right, you could be roaming around while they celebrate their annual artichoke festival, which had some pleasant little surprises for us.
Chiusure in Piazza in Primavera 24th – 25th April, 2010
How can such a tiny town put on such a big party? The roads leading into the Tuscan town of Chiusure MAP were lined with parked cars of springtime party goers, which made finding a spot to park, a little adventure and finished with a nice walk into town amongst olive groves. Over a weekend in late April the town, of only seven hundred inhabitants, holds an annual springtime festival called Chiusure in Piazza in Primavera (Chiusure in the Square in Spring) and it really is a great get together. It was the first time we had seen an actual groovy affair attended by lots of down to earth, young, mature hipsters and not dominated by families trying to find a way to keep their children entertained.
Sagra di Carciofi Sezze, 18th April, 2010
Just under an hour by train south of Rome, Sezze (MAP) is a solitary hilltop town set on the highest point of a ridge surrounded by fertile plains which are home to a vast number of artichoke fields. Nestled in amongst the modern town is the historic centre with its long, narrow and tangled streets. It’s a typical or rather stereotypical old Italian town with cobble stoned paving, stone buildings and old, grey haired ladies peering out through doorways at all the curious visitors roaming the streets on days like this one when it hosts the Sagra of the local Artichoke.
This sagra was held on Sunday, 18th of April on the same weekend as the festival in Ladispoli. If you have to choose between the two, I would absolutely recommend this one as it was all about the artichoke and nothing else. On the day the streets are lined with stalls selling cute little handy crafts or artisanal foods like salami and cheeses. Some stalls promote and sell the local artichoke called carciofo setina or, as the locals say, carciofolo sezzese.
Sagra del Carciofo Romanesco, Ladispoli
This town boasts the largest artichoke celebration in Italy but I’m here to dispute that claim on the basis of irrelevance. I was thinking that just like an artichoke, 80% of it (the festival) is made up of stuff you can do without and you have to work hard to get to the end (of the street) till you get to the heart where the true prize is.
Ladispoli is a seaside town about 45 minutes by train from Rome. One of those towns that definitely looks better at night and certainly takes on a much more appealing atmosphere once the sun has set.
We start in Rome.
When in Roma, eat artichokes alla Romana or alla Giudea. You wont regret it.
Alice and I had a Chrismas holiday together with Alice’s brother, Chris. He’d never been to Italy before so we showed him around Rome, Florence, Venice, Milan and Turin. I never get tired of going back to these places. There is always more to explore and discover, especially on a culinary level.
For our first lunch we were directed to Da Tonino, (Via del governo vecchio, 18, 00186 – Roma (RM) Italia Cell.333 5870779 )MAP
A hole in the wall kind of establishment which served good, honest and generous portions of flavoursome food. In some respects, this first lunch of my holiday was the most memorable, even more than our Christmas lunch. I have simple tastes and I’m a total sucker for food without pretense. I do appreciate talented chefs experimenting with new fusion of flavours and skillfully presenting dishes, but the simple, the rustic, the humble and the down to earth gets me much more excited.
Bruschetta con Carciofi
Let’s get one thing straight. Firstly Bruscetta is pronounced, /brusketa/ and not, /brusheta/. I just had to clear that up. Bruschetta is simply toasted or roasted bread, with garlic, olive oil and salt. That’s it. When you start adding anything on top of that it becomes, Bruschetta with …
In this case I am posting two recipes for Bruschetta with artichokes. One is really easy and flexible which I think is pretty good and fuss free. The other is the very traditional Tuscan recipe. The first is completely dairy free, which I prefer, but the Tuscan one is great in it’s own way which I never refused to eat while I lived in Florence.
1. Spinoso Sardo – AKA – Spinoso di Albenga
Sardinia, Liguria (Italy)
2. Spinoso di Palermo – AKA – Spinoso di Sciacca, Gela
3. Verde di Putignano
4. Precoce Violetto di Chioggia – AKA – Violetto di Venezia
5. Violetto di Toscana – AKA – Violetto
Toscana , Emiglia Romagna, Marche (Italy)
6. Moretto -AKA- Morello -similar to number 5
7. Verde di Castellammare
8. Verde di Pesaro
9. Catanese – AKA – Violetto di Sicilia
(France, Tunisia, Algeria,Egypt,Israel, Italy)
10. Masedu – AKA – Liscio Sardo
11. Mazzaferrata di Toscana – AKA – Testa di Ferro
12. Bianco Tarantino
13. A Pigna
14. Locale di Cuneo
Piemonte ( Italy)
15. Catalogna – AKA – Catanese & Molese tardivo
Puglia, Sicily, Basilicata (Italy)
16. Nostrano di Ascoli Piceno – AKA – Ascolano
17. Violet de Provence -AKA – Violetto Francese
(France, Algeria, Egypt, Israel, Italy)
18. Violetto di Putignano
19. Violetto di Teramo
20. Precoce di Jesi
21. Empolese -AKA- Nostrano tipo nero
23. Castellammare – AKA – Romanesco
Lazio, Campania (Italy)
24. Compagnano – AKA – Romanesco, Mazzaferrata
Lazio, Campania (Italy)
25. Romanesco a Bratee Violette – AKA – Romano, Campagnano
26. Mazzaferrata di Termoli
Abruzzi, Molise (Italy)
La Plata (Argentina)
Alicante, Muricia, Rioja-Saragozza, Catalogna, Andalusia (Spain)
31. Violet de Camargue
La Plata (Argentina)
33. Gros Camus de Bretagne
(Spain, Algeria, Marocco, Bretagne- France)
Source: A.C Castelli & C.A. Castelli, The Sensuos Artichoke – Magic of the Artichoke, Castelli & Castelli, 1978 -79, p40
The Artichoke Blog ©
Thanks for stopping and having a look. This blog will be dedicated to my scoping out of artichoke recipes, artichoke festivals over this coming Winter & Spring 2009 / 2010 season here in Italy. I’m living in Turin, in the north west of Italy. This city boasts about a lot of things, among these is the claim that Turin has the largest outdoor fresh produce market in Europe called Porta Palazzo markets. They are quite enormous, but as the claim to fame is that they are the largest outdoor markets, I’m supposing that somewhere in Europe there is a larger and possibly more impressive indoor market. That aside, Porta Palazzo markets are a great place to shop and watch the seasons change over the 2 years I have lived here.
There is a covered section of the market dedicated to the local farmers. Here you’ll find the same faces showing up on most days to sell produce they picked earlier in the morning. They serve you with mud encrusted hands and, for some of the older folk, with hunched over postures. Unfortunately, there are no local farmers who bring artichokes to sell until very late in Spring(if at all), which means that until May I can only source artichokes from the main open air market. This main area is dedicated to produce from all over Italy, Europe and in some cases imported from Africa and South America. When I’m not out of Turin looking for artichokes and artichoke recipes, this is where I will buy artichokes for the following 5 to 6 months.
Now, Autumn is well under way and although farmers in some parts of the country have to wait til later in Spring 2010 to harvest from older plants, some other farmers, who planted earlier this year, will be collecting their first harvest around now. This means that from now til around the middle of May 2010, we should see artichokes on the market stalls.
Yesterday I went to do some shopping and got there way too late. All the sellers had packed up and the stalls were being packed down. As I walked through to see if I could buy a bargain from any remaining seller, I saw something that took my breath away. On the ground was a loads of left over artichoke debris, bit and pieces, leaves and stems. This was the sign that got me motivated to start this blog the next day. From now til May or June 2010, this vegetable will follow me everywhere and I will follow it.
The Artichoke Blog ©