Things You Didn’t Know About APERITIVO

Things You Didn’t Know About APERITIVO

If you are around Italy early in the evening (around 6-7 pm), you will see most of the bars getting crowded little by little.

It could be a couple of people, or it could be a full table. However, they will all have a drink in their hands while snacking on some food.
While here in the US, we celebrate happy hour, Italian will break their working day in a fancier way: with an Aperitivo.

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It’s is all year round event; however, when the warmer season arrives, that’s when bars will start crawling. Tables and chairs are “blossoming” everywhere in the streets as most bars will prepare for the warmer season extending their space with outdoor patios (called dehors.)

Cracking the Aperitivo Code

The history of Aperitivo outlines the importance of a break from work in the Italian lifestyle. Furthermore, it serves to find a time of day in which it is possible to catch up or socialize with friends before going back to the family.
Aperitivo originated in Turin in 1786 thanks to distiller Antonio Benetto Carpano and his Vermouth, a delicious muscat wine mixed with herbs and spices. Carpano Shop soon became very popular due to this new drink, and in no time, people were gathering there after work with friends to enjoy a glass of it.
By 1880 “The Vermouth Hour” was a trend among all social classes. It became so fashionable that De Amicis wrote about it in its book “Torino 1880”. Liquors’ shops were crowded, and this social initiative soon spread out in many other regions in Italy. Competitors started creating new drinks such as Ramazzotti, Campari, Martini, Cinzano, Gancia, Cocchi, and bars to offer a few snacks (or “stuzzichini” ) to go along.

Nowadays you can enjoy Aperitivo all over Italy: from small country villages to the bigger cities.

Some bars offer such a rich variety of food that you will hardly feel the need to have dinner afterward. In some cities, the Apericena has replaced Aperitivo, which means you will have enough food to get you stuffed for dinner.
Most of the bars will have good competition on how big their buffets are. Some others are even going all the way from starter to dessert, just like an authentic dinner.

A drink and infinite goes to the buffet will usually cost you around € 12, since the global Pandemic now food is served straight to the table.

Six most popular Aperitivos

  1. Spritz: it was launched in 1919 and, up to today, is one of the favorite choices for Aperitivo. It is the perfect combination of Prosecco, Soda Water, and either Campari or Aperol topped up with a slice of Orange.
  2. Hugo: originally from Alto Adige (North East Region in Italy), this drink is getting extremely famous all over the National Territory.  a low-alcohol cocktail made of prosecco, elderberry syrup, Seltz water, and fresh mint leaves and it  falls into the “Spritz category.”
  3. Negroni: It’s a cocktail made of equal parts of Gin, Bitter Campari, and Red Martini shaken with ice and strained into a cocktail glass. It is relatively strong, so you better eat those “stuzzichini” like there is no tomorrow, or you might not be able to stand up from your table.
  4. Prosecco: this unique wine is so versatile that it can be drunk on its own or part of some cocktails.
    pouring prosecco
  5. Peach Bellini: A must if you are visiting Venice. This fancy drink usually drank in a flute is a delicate mix of prosecco and white peaches purée. It was invented in 1945 in Harry’s Bar to honor the painter Giovanni Bellini.
  6. Americano: One of the first cocktails to be consumed during the Vermouth Hour. It was created in 1860 by Mr. Campari mixing Vermouth, Campary, and Soda water. Mr. Campari named the cocktail to honor Primo Carnera, the first non-American boxer to win the world heavyweight championship in the USA. 

So if you are planning a trip to Italy this summer, make sure not to miss out on this fancy “ Italian ritual”! Don’t forget to ask what is included in the Aperitivo, especially if you have planned dinner afterward.

In case you want to recreate this fancy atmosphere in your house, then grab some of the liquors that we mentioned before, and have some snacks to go along with it: olives, platters of cheese and cured meat, some vegetables, and any other food you feel it will give you a Mediterranean vibe!

How to order coffee in Italy!

How to order coffee in Italy!

In Italy, coffee is more than just a beverage, more than a caffeine fix in the morning or during the day. Coffee is a proper ritual, starting from in the morning when you wake up and prepare your Moka, to that very quick pause in the bar to have a quick coffee “al banco.”
And, to be precise, a bar is where you have a coffee, eat a croissant or a sandwich: the equivalent of our cafè in America. You can get alcoholic beverages too, but it is the coffee they thrive on.

Un caffè per favore!

When Italians talk about coffee, they talk about Espresso. However, if you order one at the bar, you will only need to ask for a coffee and specify how you want it.

Hardly ever you will hear a local going to a bar asking for an espresso.

According to the Italian Espresso National Institute, “Espresso is the drink obtained by forcing adequately pressurized hot water through coffee powder. Espresso coffee should not contain any additive or flavorings and should be free of any artificially added water.”

If you are thinking that sounds easy, think again!
A proper Barista will ask you how you want it, and you will not have a Menu to consult: so get prepared!

Let’s start!

  • Caffè or literally coffee, which means for Italian a regular espresso. It means a single shot served in a tiny cup, most of the time heated beforehand. If you thought this was easy, think again. Your Espresso can be either Caffè Corto (Extra short) or Caffè Lungo (a bit more watery than usual)
  • Macchiato or literally stained! It’s a shot of Espresso with a dash of milk. BUT it can either be with cold milk (macchiato freddo) or with a bit of frothy hot milk (macchiato caldo). Do not get mistaken with a cappuccino as this type of Espresso still gets served in a tiny ceramic cup, and it can be drunk in a couple of sips.
  • Caffè americano: well, let’s be honest here. There are very few Italians who would drink an americano. If they see you drinking one, most likely, they will ask you how you can drink that “dirty water.” As the Italian nickname suggests, it’s a shot of Espresso with hot water. Americano: well, let’s be honest here. There are very few Italians who would drink an americano. If they see you drinking one, most likely, they will ask you how you can drink that “dirty water.” As the Italian nickname suggests, it’s a shot of Espresso with hot water.
  • Cappuccino: another worldwide famous Italian type of coffee. The perfect Cappuccino is a strict combination of coffee and milk: 25 ml of Espresso and 100 ml of steamed frothy hot milk, served in a bigger cup, full to its brim. The most talented barista will be pouring the milk to serve you a proper cup of Art. A dash of chocolate powder is totally optional, so you will need to ask if you want it.  Usually, Cappuccino is drunk after 11 am due to the high content of milk, and NEVER during or after a meal: all Italians know it will be hard to digest. But once again, Cappuccino offers different variations.  It can be chiaro (with less coffee than regular) or scuro (with more coffee than a regular one). It can be with only hot frothy milk or with just a little bit of it extra cold milk. And we are not over yet! You can ask for skimmed milk, or nowadays, with vegetable milk such as soy or almond.
  • Caffè Latte: Remarkably similar to a cappuccino but usually served in a glass, and the milk is never hot and creamy, but only lukewarm 
    
  • Latte macchiato must be served rigorously in a tall glass; this drink is hot milk, not frothy, with a dash of Espresso. 
    
  • Caffè corretto, or corrected coffee. How exactly can you correct coffee? Well, for instance, a shot of grappa or other typical liquors! A corretto is not the type of coffee you want to drink in the morning with your croissant while reading the paper. However, it’s something you want to try if you are going skiing in the wintertime as it will keep you warm and make you extra happy!
    
  • Shakerato: only served in the summer; this type of coffee is a delicious “afternoon pick me up,” mixed up with sugar and ice and served in a cocktail glass. Some cafè might have different sugary flavored syrups to offer you a different experience in every sip.
  • Marocchino: born in the Northern Region of Piedmont, as a natural evolution to a very famous drink called “Bicerin.” This gourmet coffee will sweep every chocolate lover off their feet.
    It is served in a small cup made of glass, where Espresso, froth milk, and chocolate are perfectly combined. Some bars will use chocolate powders on the top; some will be covering the bottom and rim of the glass with Nutella. Some others are now introducing Pistachio spread instead. In any case, the three layers must be clearly visible from the glass to enhance your senses.
  • Barley coffee: we all know this is not the real deal. However, as the healthy trend has been taking over during the years, a typical Italian does not want to give up the pleasure of sharing a coffee with a friend or family. This drink is now available in most of the bars on National territory; there are several options: small cup (Orzo in tazza piccola), big cups (orzo in tazza grande), with or without milk, vegetable milk, and so on.
  • Another addition to the coffee Panorama in the latest year is coffee with Ginseng. It’s Espresso prepared with ginseng extract and needs no other sweetener. Ginseng naturally increases energy and is said to make you alert. It also helps with digestion, making caffè al ginseng another perfectly acceptable after lunch or dinner coffee drink
  • Decaffeinated, or simply DEKA: from Espresso to Cappuccino, you can please your palate without feeding caffeine to your body. It’s the perfect solution for those who drink several espressos in a day. Or for those who simply do not want to give up this natural digestive aid after a sumptuous dinner.

Although Italians like simplicity in life, they sometimes like to complicate the most simple things, such as coffee.
Check out this funny short video from a famous Italian Illustrator

By the way, we would like to share a little fact to make you understand the importance of coffee in Italy.
A cup of coffee is usually really cheap, just above a dollar a cup. In The region of Campania, people may pay for two coffees: their own and for what they called a “suspended” one. Anyone who cannot afford coffee for the day might walk into the bar and enquire if any pending drinks are available for the day. A little act of kindness that can brighten up someone’s day!

And if you are planning a trip to Italy this summer, you can now order coffee like a local!

Colomba: the cherry on the cake of an extraordinary Easter feast

Colomba: the cherry on the cake of an extraordinary Easter feast

You know when Easter is approaching in Italy as in all supermarkets, bakeries, and delicatessen shops “Colomba” are filling shelves and shop windows.
Colomba means DOVE, but if your fantasy is running wild thinking of shops filled up with birds..well, you have to stop and rewind.
After all, we are talking about a country famous for the best food in the world.

Inside our last year post about Easter Celebration, we introduced it briefly among all the other delicacies that have been on the majority of Italian tables.

So what are we exactly talking about?

Colomba is a fragrant and delicate cake, shaped like a dove, with a dough-like Panettone but crafted following a slightly lighter recipe. As you know, Italians take their food very seriously, and this special Easter cake is a registered PAT (Prodotto Agroalimentari Tradizionali). It means that Italian Law regulates ingredients and characteristics.

But why baking a cake in the shape of a Dove, you might wonder?
As always, many legends are mysteriously wrapped around the invention of our sweet pastry.

Colomba pasquale, an Italian traditional Easter cake, the counterpart of the two well-known Italian Christmas desserts, panettone and pandoro.

For sure, we know that Colomba was created in Northern Italy, in the region of Lombardy!

The first legend goes back to the year 612 when an Irish Abbot Columbanus story and his pilgrims visited the Queen of the Longobards, Teodolinda.
Her Majesty offered a great feast to the Irish Abbot and his pilgrims, but they refused it as the food was too rich to be consumed while respecting lent. The Queen felt very offended, so Columbanus, with great diplomacy, decided to turn around the awkward situation by blessing the meat before eating. The Abbot raised his right hand, and while he was doing the cross sign, the rich dishes turned into plain white bread loaves, shaped like doves. The Monarch was so impressed that she donated the Monastery of Bobbio to Abbot’s order.

The second legend takes place in 1176, when Lombardian celebrated their victory over the Roman Empire. It is said that two doves, symbolizing the Holy Ghost, appeared on the altar of the chariot carrying the battle standards. Hence, the Colomba commemorates that event and victory: a true case of the role of food in history.

Last but not least, is the third legend, which is an example of how delicious food can change someone’s heart and mind.
A young girl in Pavia baked the cake in the sixth century as a peace offering for the wretched King Albion of the Lombard tribe. He was demanding a tribute from her hometown of Pavia, and he loved the Colomba so much that he spared Pavia.

However, if we look at the facts, the story is that in 1930, Dino Villani, working for Motta, introduced the baked good on the Italian tables. Being so similar to the Christmas Panettone, the company could use the machinery once more and cut the yearly costs.
The industrialized Colomba was launched on the market with a very catchy slogan, “The Easter Colomba by Motta. The cake that tastes of Spring”

How to pick a good quality Colomba?

As previously mentioned, it has to follow the strict regulations of the Decree of 2005 that describe it as: “a pastry baked product soft, obtained by natural fermentation from the sourdough, shaped irregular oval similar to the dove, a soft honeycomb structure elongated, with top glazing and a decoration composed of grains of sugar and at least 2% almonds.”
Many of the ingredients are the same as Panettone: flour, eggs, butter, sugar, yeast, almonds, and sugar glaze.
The taste is delicate and sweet, with a soft and fluffy texture and revealing a honeycomb of air pockets. The subtle aroma of citrus fruit, yeast, and vanilla will be sweeping you off your feet.

Sweet easter cake called Colomba, made with almond and sugar

Although the original recipe is simple, nowadays, topping and filling are varying from Region to Region. Or simply from baker to baker: every year, pastry chefs are coming up with a different variety to beat the competition.

Easter Colomba cakes in their traditional dove-shaped baking tins cooking in an oven in a bakery

Just like Panettone, also artisanal Colomba is a product of real love. Don’t be fooled even by the simple ingredients as the procedure is very long.

The dough needs to rest an entire night before having extra flour, eggs, and sugar added. After that, it will have to stay put for at least four hours before going into the oven. Once baked, another 7 hours of rest are needed before getting packaged.

Colomba Pasquale, an Italian traditional Easter cake, is the counterpart of the two well-known Italian Christmas desserts, panettone and pandoro.

On Easter Day, Colomba will be closing the fabulous feast, often paired with sweet wines such as Moscato or Passito.
However, as Colomba can be found easily in the month following Easter, Italian might carry on eating for a few more weeks for breakfast or as an afternoon snack.

The pastry can be slightly toasted or eaten straight with a good cup of espresso or topped up with Jam, Chocolate spread, or honey!

Pasta alla Carbonara: a traditional Italian recipe with an American twist

Pasta alla Carbonara: a traditional Italian recipe with an American twist

According to Taste Atlas, Pasta alla Carbonara directly ranks n. 2 in the top ten World famous Italian pasta dishes, just after Tagliatelle al Ragù , or best known as “Tagliatelle alla Bolognese”.

Like many other traditional dishes, a veil of mystery is wrapped around the origins of this tasty dish. 

Let’s unveil the most popular stories on the creation of this masterpiece of  Italian cooking.

Unveiling the mystery throughout history and traditions

It is hard to establish the “Carbonara sauce” origin because there is no written record until 1950. 

Still, a similar sauce was mentioned already in 1839 in Ippolito Cavalcanti’s Neapolitan cookbook: cheese, raw eggs, and melted lard. 

Furthermore, in the nearby Region of Lazio, a very popular way to eat past was with Cacio cheese and eggs (Cacio e ova).

Could our beloved sauce be an evolution of those two well-known regional recipes until someone found the perfect balance among all the ingredients?

And by perfection, we mean that the ending result must be when the eggs embrace the pasta without getting sticky and dry, neither without being runny and raw.

Could “Carbonara” be linked to the name of those who were consuming it the most? 

In Rome, Coal workers are called “Carbonari,” hence the rich sauce made of cheese, eggs, and “guanciale” would have been perfect for sustaining them during a long day in the mine. The dash of black pepper on the top could remind the soot stains on the workers ‘clothes.

Or could it be the first attempt of an Italian-American fusion kitchen?  

It was 1944 during the Allied liberation of Rome, and fresh food was scarce at the time, and often pasta was served with very few ingredients, if not straight.

American GI’s started adding their K ration ( a ration of bacon and powder egg) to plain Spaghetti. The combination was immediately a hit for both the Americans and the Italians, and it became famous all over the territory. 

The National Newspaper LA STAMPA published in 1950 the first article mentioning a host in Trastevere who welcomed American officers serving them spaghetti carbonara. 

Spaghetti alla Carbonara became an international success, as in 1954 British author Elizabeth David described them in her book “Italian Food.”

Once again, the recipe got adjusted throughout time by substituting fresh ingredients and finding that perfect balance mentioned previously.

How to make the perfect Spaghetti alla Carbonara

Nowadays, there are several versions of Carbonara Sauce, and many chefs around the World are trying to come up with new combinations to cherish everyone’s palate, including vegetarians.

However, if you want to taste the original Italian Carbonara, there are a few strict rules to follow! 

  1. Choose the right pasta, such as Spaghetti or Linguine. 
  2. Use only guanciale (an Italian cured meat from pork cheek) 
  3. Use only yolks 
  4. Use only Pecorino cheese. 
  5. Black pepper must be freshly grounded.
  6. It’s strictly forbidden to use onions, garlic, mushrooms, or cream! 

Now that you know the rules, let’s go to the kitchen to put them into action and delight our taste buds.

Ingredients

  • 350 g (12 oz) of spaghetti
  • 200 g (7 oz) of guanciale
  • 4 yolks 
  • 100 g (3,50 oz) of grated Pecorino Romano cheese
  • Black Pepper

DIrections:

  • Put a large pot of water to boil with a pinch of salt. Once the water is boiling, throw in your Spaghetti. Set your timer to a couple of minutes earlier than the suggested cooking time so that you can have your pasta “al  dente.” 
  • Meanwhile, dice your guanciale and fry it until it gets really crispy. 
  • Grate your pecorino cheese and mix it with the raw yolks, salt, and a dash of fresh pepper. 
  • Drain your Spaghetti, leaving some boiling water on the side. 
  • Pour the Spaghetti into the pan with your fried guanciale,  for a maximum of 2 minutes, then take them off the fire. 
  • Now add your mixture of yolks and cheese and some boiling water and keep on stirring very fast! 
  • Serve immediately with some extra grated Pecorino and a dash of freshly grounded pepper.

Buon appetito!! 

Did you know that since 2017, on April 6th, the Italian Association of Confectionery and Pasta Industries and the International Pasta Organization created National Carbonara Day? 

Now that you know the history, the right ingredients, and the know-how, you can surprise your family and friends and celebrate this fantastic World loved pasta! 

The secrets of an excellent Italian risotto are revealed!

The secrets of an excellent Italian risotto are revealed!

When you think of Italian food, we are sure that you will think immediately of  Pizza and pasta. However, Italian Restaurants’ majorities will have on their Menu a surprising variety of rice or better “risotto.” 

Italy produces 1,6 million tons of rice every year, therefore is the top producer in Europe.

So how did rice end up on the Italian tables? 

Chinese domesticated rice about 8000 years ago, but it was only in 320 BC that Alexander the Great introduced it to the Greeks on returning from the Asia expeditions.

Among the ancient Greeks and Romans, rice was considered very precious and used only as a medicine to settle upset stomachs. 

The Arabs then introduced it to Spain in the Thirteen centuries, but it reached Italy only in the Sixteen century. Rice landed first in the Kingdom of Naples and then in the river Po’s plain, where the crop became definitively established.

The fertile swampy plains in the Po Valley, covering the Regions of Piedmont, Lombardy, and Veneto, were soon homes to a new variety of rice still available today, such as Carnaroli, Arborio, Roma, Sant’Andrea, Baldo, and Vialone Nano. 

Each variety can be processed to become white, brown, or parboiled rice.

Risotto is not simply boiled rice to accompany your vegetable or your meat and fish dish. Risotto is the loving process of toasting your rice and adding broth and other ingredients until you reach a unique creamy consistency.

First of all, you need to pick the correct variety, the Italian ones such as Carnaroli, Arborio or Vialone Nano. Their grain is plump and starchy, hence perfect to deliver the creaminess of an impeccable risotto. Do not rinse it as the water will wash away the starch that keeps the grain firm without overcooking. 

Whatever you choose to make your risotto with, you will always need the following ingredients:

 Extra virgin Olive oil, butter, white wine, and a good broth. 

Step 1: make a nice and light soffritto with a thinly sliced onion, and then pour your rice for a light “tostatura” (toasting). Just a few minutes on low heat will be enough.  Step 2: Depending on the recipe you are following, either add in gently the needed quantity of broth or a splash of wine.  You do not need to stir it very often as the starch will work better its magic when left untouched. 

Step 3: Let it cooked the right time. Unless you use wholegrain, it will be done in under 20 minutes. 

Step 4: The Mantecatura: although it sounds complicated, this last step merely means adding butter and parmesan to your risotto to reach that final unique creaminess

Step 5: Serve with an extra sprinkle of shaved parmesan, and enjoy!

10 recipes for amazing Risotto

“Rice is born in water and dies in wine” (Lombardy saying)

If you wonder why there is such a saying in Italy, you will understand with one of the top risotto’s recipes.
However, most recipes always have a splash of white wine to enrich the final result.

Risotto al Barolo

Barolo is a typical wine from Piedmont (which, by the way, you can try from our Wine Menu). Only the best quality rice will be cooked in this extraordinary wine, turning the risotto in an exquisite rich red plate. 

Risotto allo Zafferano

Typical of the Region of Lombardia. In particular to the city of Milan, where allegedly it was created. It was 1574 when the glassmaker Valerio de Flanders, obsessed with Saffron, decided to use it in rice as a joke. However, the yellow risotto turned out to be a great success from the very first moment.

Risotto radicchio e speck

The bitterness of radicchio meets the smokey flavor of Speck, a typical cured meat from Trentino.

Risi e Bisi

Or simply Rice and Peas! A traditional dish from the Veneto region: peas have to be fresh to give the risotto full flavor. Fresh Pancetta is often added to the mix for extra tastiness.

Risotto al Pomodoro

A very simple version of risotto with tomato sauce.  A beautiful reminder of those long summer days, where tomatoes were ripening under the hot sun.

Risotto alla pescatora

Seafood rice, a typical dish from our beloved region of Campania. The rice is slowly cooked in fish broth, and then seafood will be added: the best of the Mediterranean Sea on a plate!

Risotto al nero di seppia

Another specialty from the Veneto region, it is made with cuttlefish cooked with their ink-sacs intact, leaving the risotto black.

Risotto agli asparagi

A spring favorite. Asparagus season starts in early spring, and it is very short, so you better take advantage when it comes. This unusual vegetable has a robust earthy flavor, and it is combined with white wine and parmesan. 

Risotto ai funghi

Another unmissable dish as Fall approaches, especially in Northern Italy. The texture of the mushroom will just add even more creaminess to the risotto. If you happen to be in the right place at the right time, you will be lucky to have some shaved truffle as an extra topping. But remember, truffles are sold by weight, so be sure to ask for the price first!

Risotto al Castelmagno e noci

Back to the Region of Piedmont where the cheese of Castelmagno is DOP. The risotto is amazing only with the Cheese, but pears or nuts are often added for an extra twist.

So now that you know the secrets of an outstanding risotto, all you need is to get the correct main ingredients and unleash your fantasy with the vegetables available now. 

Let us know in the comments how you prepared yours! 

Buon appetito!

Artichoke: an exquisite flower bud on your plate!

Artichoke: an exquisite flower bud on your plate!

Artichokes are those refined vegetables that are unmissable in winter in any Italian kitchens.

Here in the USA, you have most likely tasted this delicacy on a pizza topping or salads. 

However, fresh (either raw or cooked) artichokes taste quite different from those you find in a jar. Although it is classified as a vegetable, an artichoke (Cynara cardunculus) is the immature flower bud of a thistle, and it is harvested before it can blossom.

Artichokes are among the world’s oldest food in the world, and originated in the Mediterranean basin: the exact region is uncertain, but many facts lead to Sicily, in Italy. 

Greek and the Roman empires then introduced them to the rest of Europe and even to Northern African regions. In the 18th century, the French then started growing crops in their colonies in the United States.

The French artichoke, also called globe artichoke, is the world’s most known variety. As the noun suggests, its thornless outer leaves (called bracts) form a green round flower. The base of the bracts is tender and edible. One after the other, they lead you to a soft hairy center (called choke), sitting on top of the most scrumptious and delicate part: the heart and the top of the stem.

However, there is another variety of this unique vegetable, and it is cultivated in Italy and only in Sardinia: the Spiny artichoke ( PDO: Protected Designation of Origin). Once again, as the name suggests, its bracts and stem have big thorns, and its flavor is slightly more intense. It is usually available from late November to early March, but not always nationwide.

According to FAO, artichokes are produced only in 31 countries. Italy is holding first place with more than 20% of the world’s harvest, followed by Egypt, Spain, and Peru. In regards to the States, 80% of our domestic crops come from Castroville, in California. The “Artichoke Center of the World” has even been holding a Festival in June since 1959! (https://artichokefestival.org/)

This delicious vegetable is not only a delicacy to our palate but also to our entire body.  According to a USDA study, among 1000 different types of food, artichokes are ranked 7th in antioxidant content. 

They are low in saturated fat and cholesterol while being a rich source of fibers and vitamins such as vitamin C, folate, and vitamin K. 

They also provide minerals such as calcium, iron, zinc, sodium, potassium, manganese, and phosphorus.
FOOD DATA CENTRAL

Why are artichokes so good for your health?

Here are the top 3 reasons why: 

  1. Two special antioxidants found in their leaves and stems, cynarin and silymarin, can detox the liver. 
  2. The high content of potassium can regulate blood pressure.
  3. Being a rich source of fiber, they can improve the digestive system’s health and functionality.

Let’s jump to the fun part: how to eat them! 

As we previously mentioned, artichokes can be eaten raw or cooked in different ways. 

Whatever you decide, make sure to pick fresh ones! Check out the outer leaves: if they are extremely hard or spread out too much, the artichoke could be old or overmature. If you hear a squeaking sound by pressing the leaves against each other, just place them in your caddy and take them home!

You will need to wash them, remove a few of the outer leaves, and cut off the top so the tender heart will be revealed. Leave a few centimeters of the stem, and peel off the skin. 

Then let your fantasy run wild!

You can boil them, stew them, grill them, back them, stuff them, make a delicious risotto, and so much more. 

If you need a little inspiration, you can check out some of these delicious recipes.

Not only eaten, but drunken too!

Artichokes can be made into a herbal tea: an excellent way to detox your liver, soothing your digestion and getting your skin to glow. 

In the fifties, Italy launched a very particular digestive liquor called Cynar: an artichoke-based liquor enriched by a special mix of 13 herbs and plants.  

This distinctive beverage is still produced today and can be easily found in bars and restaurants today, to drink at the end of a meal, or as part of a few original cocktails. 

We do hope you can find some fresh artichokes at your local market. Otherwise, come by and taste the most delicate Italian artichoke hearts in our Carciofo salad, Pizza, or Salmone Fantasia.