To the Artichoke Lover

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 claims is that Turin has the largest outdoor fresh produce market in Europe. They are 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 there is a larger, and possibly more impressive, indoor market. That aside, Porta Palazzo markets are a great place to shop and having lived here for the past two years , it’s  a great place to watch the seasons change. 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 the produce they picked earlier that 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 which has produce from all over Italy, Europe and in some cases imported from Africa and South America. Here is where I will find 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 whole lot 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.

October 10, 2009