Chicory and Italian lettuce

Chicory, also known as, ‘Belgian endive’, was originally discovered around 1830 near Brussels. The biennial leafy crops are grown in the first year in May by sowing the roots. In the fall they harvest the crops. After they’re pulled out of the ground, they’re placed in a dark space. Due to the lack of daylight, no chlorophyll develops, that’ how they remain white, just like asparagus.

Red chicory has been cultivated for centuries in the Veneto region of Italy. It’s a cross between the chicory and radicchio rosso and is grown in the same way. Small red chicory heads hardly have a firm core and are usually from the best quality. Radicchio is the general term for different types of chicory and lettuce. In the Veneto region, Italy, there are already 5 different varieties. Such as the Treviso precoce, tardivo and the Castelfranco. All with their own color, shape and pleasantly bitter taste.

Chicory

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Taste: Chicory used to be very bitter, but nowadays it has a more subtle taste.

Preparation: Baked in the oven with ham and cheese, a true classic. Or use raw.

Combine with: Great for stir-frying or to use raw in salads. Also great to caramelize and stew, like with pheasant à la Brabançonne.

Mini chicory

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Taste: Beautiful small chicory heads with a golden-yellow edge. Beautiful soft taste.

Preparation: Ready to use. For example raw or cooked.

Combine with: Perfect to use raw.

Friseline

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Taste: The slightly bitter taste of the chicory and the fresh crispiness of the lettuce.

Preparation: The crispy, curled leaf is delicious to eat raw.

Combine with: For example in a salad with blue cheese or goat cheese. Or in a Waldorf salad with walnuts.

Red chicory

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Taste: Red chicory is a mix between the regular chicory and the red lettuce, radicchio rosso. Spicy and sweet taste.

Preparation: Best to eat raw. The red chicory loses it color and crispiness when cooked.

Combine with: Raw, as a garnish and in salads or in different types of stir-fry and oven dishes.

Chicory with root

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Taste: Strong bitter taste.

Preparation: Leave the root attached to the chicory, peel the skin and cut in half lengthwise. Grill on the cutting edge.

Combine with: Great in combination with a blond beer.

Vacuum cooked chicory

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Taste: Characteristic chicory taste, perfectly cooked without discoloration.

Preparation: For example, cut in half lengthwise and roast on the cutting edge.

Combine with: The flavors, nutrients and the color will be retained during the cooking process. The chicory is directly ready to use.

Chicory powder

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Taste: Recognizable chicory taste.

Preparation: Sprinkle directly on your dish or process it into a tuile.

Combine with: Great in combination with smoked fish or poultry.

Cicoria puntarelle

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Taste: The shoots have a nutty, slightly bitter taste. The flavor is a combination of chicory, endive and fennel.

Preparation: The puntarelle has a slightly bitter taste when eaten raw, stewed the taste is similar to that of spicy endive.

Combine with: Use the outer leaves for a warm preparation and the shoots for a salad.

Indivia scarola

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Taste: Firm but tender leaves with a spicy taste.

Preparation: The yellow heart has an incredible soft taste. The leaves are slightly spicy and do well in salads.

Combine with: Use in traditional Italian dishes such as zuppa di scarola. But also great with salads and pasta.

Radicchio rosso

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Taste: Red lettuce with a crispy and firm leaf with a bitter chicory taste.

Preparation: Use raw, cut into strips to put in a salad. Blanch or stir-fry to bring out the bitter taste.

Combine with: For example, cut into quarters to grill them.

Treviso precoce

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Taste: Red chicory lettuce with long, broad leaves and a fresh bitter taste.

Preparation: a milder taste than the radicchio rosso. Does great in salads or as a side dish.

Combine with: In Italy often grilled and served as an alternative to steak. Cut the Treviso in half, sprinkle with some olive oil and grill on the cutting edge.

Treviso tardivo

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Taste: An extraordinary appearance with elongated, curled leaves. Slightly bitter.

Preparation: The bitter taste fades away when the treviso is cooked or roasted.

Combine with: Thanks to the curled leaves, also great to use as decoration.

Radicchio castelfranco

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Taste: Cream-colored leaves with red dots. Slightly bitter and sweet in taste.

Preparation: The outer leaves are widely applicable, but especially the core has an amazing taste.

Combine with: Just like the bitter radicchio’s, great to use in warm dishes like soup, risotto or pizza.

Radicchio La Rosa di Padova

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Taste: Perhaps the most beautiful type of radicchio. The deep red, open leaf is reminiscent of a rose.

Preparation: Saute, grill or roast. The structure becomes softer when cooked and the bitter taste emerges.

Combine with: Raw a beautiful spicy and colorful addition.

Radicchio La Rosa del Veneto

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Taste: The light pink heads are a lot less bitter in taste than most radicchio varieties. They even have a sweet aftertaste.

Preparation: Due to its soft taste, particularly suitable to use raw in salads.

Combine with: Raw in salads, but also nice to prepare in warm dishes.

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