It’s part of the family of “Radicchio” from the Veneto region and it has been cultivated in our territory for a long time.
In November 2008 it was awarded the European PGI (Protected Geographical Indication).
The Veneto region produces more than half of the Italian chicory: the Treviso variety called the “noble father”, the Castelfranco, the Chioggia and the Verona varieties.
It seems that the radicchio red leaves were imported into the Veneto by the Republic of Venice around the fifteenth century but in Verona the first crops were grown in 1900, spreading after the Second World War to 32 municipalities in the Verona area, 13 in the Vicenza area and 12 in the Padua area.
The radicchio from Verona is the second largest production in the Veneto province after Chioggia.
This particular variety is characterized by its crispness, the deep red color and the slightly bitter taste: it is called “the edible flower” because of its likeness to a beautiful flower with an attractive and inviting coloring, suitable to be prepared in different ways.
Here is a poem in Verona dialect by Giorgio Gioco:
Qua, fra i banchi della piassa,
fra spinasse, coste e pori
gh’è le ceste che sganassa
de i radici da par lori.
El radicio, cari miei,
quelo rosso de Verona,
l’è un bocon de quei più bei
che fa la boca bona.
L’è del piato un gran ruffian
Coi colori e col saor…
Quel radicio rosso vivo
Mi lo magno e no te digo…
Mi lo magno in t’un bocon
Musegando: “Dio, che bon