The artichoke is the “prince” of Roman cuisine.
Definitely deserves a special praise in his season.
Many plants, known since ancient times, have spread to a double value. Not only as food, but also as medicine, this is the case of the artichoke.
Beloved variety by Romans are the typical Roman artichokes, named “Cimaroli”. Those arichokes are the ones that come on the main branches of the bush.
From every branch that it collects only one. This is the one who has the distinction of being the biggest and tender side ones.
During our food tour of Rome you will taste this special vegetable alla Giudia (Jewish style).
A famous Roman chorus says “these are artichokes, slender-stemmed and sapor tasty. They are called in Roman dialect” pure amazement, “soothe the crazy and greedy. Giving prestige and pride to gastronomy, reconcile the bride with the groom . Tamed the most harpy mother-in-law, and at lunch, at dinner in the house and tavern. Gold crisp, delicious sake of all, these are the artichokes”.
But keep in mind, local poeple will eat artichokes only wneh in season. All our grandmothers teached us: atickokes comes Christmas to Easter. In other words, November to April.
More interested in the history of artichokes?
Some botanists believe that the plant arrived in Europe by the Arabs. In addition, the term “Artichoke” derives from the Arabic word “Karshuf” .
According to others, the plant was popular even to the ancient Egyptians. Popular all over already in the classical world.
Some ancient texts indicate the medicinal Roman artichoke as originating from Sicily. Cynara was its Latin name.
Anyway the real fortune and popularity of artichokes dates the beginning of 16th century. One of the alleged medicinal properties of the artichoke seems to have been to be a powerful aphrodisiac.
However, the beneficial properties of artichoke are many. Firstly, contains substances for cleansing the liver. Secondly, it is an excellent diuretic, rich in vitamins and revitalizing.
During the Renaissance, therefore, the cult for artichokes in Rome grew up. Consequently, the vegetable was so popular to be celebrated by a festival. Currently, the festival “the carciofolata” takes place nowadays. Certainly even close to the area of greatest production of the Roman artichoke Ladispoli.
Cook the artichockes in many different ways:
The Roman- style recipe (steam the vegetables with olive oil and white wine).
The Jewish style version (fried two-times in olive oil).
You can store the smallest variety in jars. Name of this recipe is “carciofini”. After a hard cleaning, steam the baby artichockes with vinegar, then dry it and store it under extra virgin olive oil. Carciofini sott’olio are a typical ingredient for the aperitif finger food in Rome.
Sliced fried artichockes for risotto or on top of pizza. Generally served together with potatoes.
Pairing wine with artichokes is, certainly, the real challenge. The vegetables is very rich in minerals and iron, with a strong bitter aftertaste. Any tannic wine (mostly red) will extol the bitterness. Much better to chose a white wine, mineral scented and with a little residual sugar and alcohol.
In conclusion, we recommend a white wine from Latium Oppidum from Cantine Sant’Andrea.