Dec
2016

Cardoons

Available beginning in November through the month of January, cardoons are members of the thistle family- grown wildly but also cultivated throughout Piedmont.

 

It was first described by Theophrastus in the 4th century BCE. He stated that its origin was Sicily, although it more than likely originally came from North Africa. The fleshy stalk resembles that of flattened celery, with a suede-like finish. When it is cooked, it has a subtle bittersweet flavor that hints of artichoke, but also suggests celery and salsify.

 

Rarely seen on the market, cardoons are snapped up by knowledgeable connoisseurs because the vegetable is nearly extinct as a commercial plant, despite its popularity.

 

There are two types of cardoon: lunghi and gobbi. The lunghi are long, regular stalks that grow in a conventional manner. Gobbi types feature a well-known hunchbacked shape . Grown in sandy soil, the cardoon plant adopts their unique