Carciofo Romanesco del Lazio PGI is a fresh artichoke deriving from the bud (flower head) of plants belonging to the Cynara scolymus species, which is harvested unripe. It is deriving from the Castellammare and Campagnano cultivars and related clones.
The soil is carefully prepared with manure pits and the surface is levelled. Young plants with the root ball or carducci (basal shoots) can be used for transplanting new artichoke beds; planting takes place between August and October. The artichoke beds can’t be cultivated for more than four years, with a three-year crop rotation. Harvesting is carried out by hand, with an oblique cut on the stalk at about 15-18 cm from the ground. Harvesting starts at the beginning of January and can last right up until the end of May, although the ideal period is between March and April. Picking the artichokes at the right time stops the formation of excessive downy hairs inside the flower head.
Appearance and Flavour
Carciofo Romanesco del Lazio PGI is large in size, with an almost round head that ranges from green to violet in colour. The central flower head is characterised by a spherical shape, with a diameter of over 10 cm, and is compact and thorn-free.
The production area of Carciofo Romanesco del Lazio PGI is within the municipalities of Montalto di Castro, Canino and Tarquinia, in the Province of Viterbo; Allumiere, Tolfa, Cittavecchia, Santa Marinella, Campanano, Cerveteri, Ladispoli, Fiumicino, Rome and Lariano, in the Province of Rome; and Sezze, Priverno, Sermoneta and Pontinia, in the Province of Latina, in the Lazio region.
Carciofo Romanesco del Lazio PGI boasts a long tradition. The vegetable has been present in the rural and culinary culture of central Italy from time immemorial. Several wall inscriptions inside the Etruscan necropolis in Tarquinia bear witness to its presence as far back as the Etruscans. The first certain confirmation of cultivation dates back to the XV century, when artichokes spread from the Naples area, where they had been introduced by Filippo Strozzi, into Tuscany and later into other areas on the Peninsula. However, it is was only after the Second World War that the artichoke started to be widely used, thanks to its excellent organoleptic properties and its huge versatility in cooking. Today, although the product is widely cultivated throughout southern and central Italy, the highest quality artichokes are still found in the Lazio region.
Carciofo Romanesco del Lazio PGI should be eaten immediately after buying, although it is possible to keep it refrigerated for a few days. If it is very young, it can be eaten raw, cut into thin slices and seasoned with salt, oil, lemon and mint, as well as Parmigiano Reggiano PDO cheese. It is an extremely versatile ingredient and thanks to its characteristic tenderness it cooks in 15 minutes. Carciofo Romanesco del Lazio PGI is very well-known for its use in the traditional dish “Artichoke alla Romana”, stuffed with garlic, parsley and field mint and cooked for a long time in water and white wine. When fried, they are known as “Artichoke alla Giudea”.
The product is marketed as Carciofo Romanesco del Lazio PGI, in the Castellammare and Campagnano typologies, and is available from mid-February to May. It is sold in sealed boxes covered with plastic nets or in bunches tied together with a band.
Carciofo Romanesco del Lazio PGI found perfect growing conditions in the Lazio region, allowing it to adapt easily and flourish.