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Radicchio

Radicchio di Chioggia is a leafy Italian chicory that is native to northern Italy and is the most well-known radicchio in today’s time. A relative of endive, radicchio is a member of the chicory family and is sometimes referred to in English as “Italian chicory” or in French as “Chicorée Rouge.” Radicchio comes in many different shapes and colors. Radicchio di Chioggia has burgundy-red leaves with white ribs and is round resembling cabbage. Radicchio adds depth and color to any salad and its flavor profile adds zest to soups and risottos. A radicchio salad pairs well with Sauvignon Blanc and pasta with radicchio pairs well with Pinot Noir.

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Treviso

Treviso is a variety of radicchio chicory. Treviso resembles Romaine lettuce or overgrown Belgian Endive. Its long, compact leaves are deep in color with bright white veins. It has all the nutrients of regular lettuce but the slightly bitter compounds of Treviso also mean it’s higher in antioxidants. This chicory adds wonderful depth of flavor to everything from salads to pasta to a braise. Pair roasted Treviso with garlic with a white Burgundy like Chardonnay.

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Castelfranco

Castelfranco, also known as the edible rose, has voluminous heads that unfold with wide, round, butter-cream and red-speckled leaves. One of the mildest of the radicchio varieties, the semi-bitter Castelfranco is ideal for eating fresh in a salad. Use it for a splash of color and add its soft, buttery leaves to any pasta dish. Pairs well with wines like Pinot Gris and Sauvignon Blanc.

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Lacinato Kale

Lacinato Kale (also called Tuscan, Dinosaur, or Black Kale) is the easiest to handle and quickest to cook thanks to its small, crinkled leaves. Lacinato Kale leaves have a greenish-blue tint with an earthy flavor profile. This dark green, leafy vegetable provides many of the same health benefits as the common Curly Kale, but it also provides some unique benefits. Numerous studies suggest that foods rich in isothiocyanates, which are found in Lacinato Kale, may help prevent cancer and even suppress the growth of tumors. Tuscan Kale is the perfect addition to soups or side dishes.

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Fennel

Fennel, also known as sweet anise, is native to southern Europe and the Mediterranean, making it popular in many Italian and French dishes. Fennel is a root vegetable with a feathery frond and a large, bulbous root. The bulb’s texture is similar to celery and can be thinly sliced and roasted, sautéed or boiled. The frond can be minced and added to dishes the way you’d use a fresh herb, making this root vegetable nearly entirely edible. Fennel is slightly sweet with a hint of black licorice. Fennel goes well with shellfish and poultry dishes and pairs nicely with light-bodied whites like Pinot Gris and Chenin Blanc.

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Cardone

Cardone (pronounced car-doan-ee), also known as Cardoon (pronounced car-dune), is a thistle native to the Mediterranean that grows in the wild with attractive purple flowers, but watch out for their prickly leaves and steams. Cardone is a sister to the artichoke, but instead of eating the immature flower bud, we eat the petiole, or leaf stalk. This vegetable looks like overgrown celery but it actually tastes like an artichoke heart. Cardone is not eaten raw; it is deep fried, boiled, or sautéed. Prior to cooking, the Cardone should be de-ribbed, washed and boiled to soften it.

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Puntarelle

Puntarelle (poon-ta-REL-lay) is a member of the chicory family and is a typical cooking ingredient used in some regions of Italy. Its mildly bitter flavor blends the spiciness of Arugula with the sweetness of Fennel. This chicory has pale white and light green shoots that look like short, large asparagus surrounded by dark green, serrated leaves that have the appearance of dandelion leaves. The Puntarelle shoots are the main feature of this chicory and can be eaten boiled, sautéed or raw in a salad. The dark green leaves of Puntarelle, which look similar to dandelion leaves, are edible as well and can be eaten raw in salad or sautéed. 

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