Carciofo Spinoso di Sardegna PDO is an artichoke belonging to the Cynara scolymus species, of the local Spinoso Sardo ecotype.
The production area of Carciofo Spinoso di Sardegna PDO is within numerous municipalities in all of the provinces of the Sardinia region.
This product is cultivated in open fields with well-drained medium-textured soils. Propagation is carried out with plants that have the specific features of the Spinoso Sardo ecotype and which are cultivated within the production area. Transplanting can take place in different periods, depending on whether the producer wants an early or late production. In the first case, transplanting takes place between the second half of June and the first few days of August, while the second takes place later, in August and September. Harvesting is carried out by hand by cutting the stem under the flower heads and must take place before the opening of bracts. The harvesting period is from September 1st to the end of May. Before being put on the market, the artichokes must be sold in closed packaging displaying both the designation logo and European logo. All the above operations have to take place in a short space of time and with the least possible number of manipulations, thereby guaranteeing the maximum freshness of this delicate and easily perishable product.
Appearance and Flavour
Carciofo Spinoso di Sardegna PDO has a conic and elongated flower head that is moderately compact; it is green in colour with brownish-violet hues and has yellow thorns on the bracts. The stalk is slightly fibrous and tender. It has a fleshy and tender consistency that is crunchy at the same time. The aroma is strong and floral and its flavour is characterised by a good balance between bitter and sweet, and is therefore only slightly astringent.
The presence of the artichoke in Sardinia has been documented since the time of the Phoenicians and has a long and well-rooted history which, over time, has made it one of the most important agricultural productions in the region. It has been mentioned in literary works since the mid XVIII century, such as Agricoltura di Sardegna from 1780 and La vita rustica della Sardegna riflessa nella lingua from 1921. The importance of its cultivation is evident in the “insurance taxes” that farmers paid for the surveillance of the artichoke fields during the XIX century. From the XX century onwards, the artichoke became a specialised cultivation and soon became known outside of the region.
Carciofo Spinoso di Sardegna PDO is a particularly delicate vegetable and should be kept in a cool, dry place, preferably in the fridge; it has to be consumed in a short time. Thanks to its sweet flavour, it can be eaten either raw in crudité or used as an ingredient in many delicious cooked dishes or sauces. It can be conserved both naturally and in oil. An extremely popular recipe is deep fried artichoke with mint and Sardinian ricotta cheese and it is also perfect for making savoury flans. It is ideal when served with the smooth and persistent Vermentino di Gallura PDO white wine.
The product is marketed as Carciofo Spinoso di Sardegna PDO. It is sold between September and May, in trays containing from 2 to 12 heads, whole and/or in portions; in food baskets weighing from 500 g to 5 kg; in wooden, cardboard or plastic food boxes with between 4 to 60 heads. The market categories are Extra and First.
Carciofo Spinoso di Sardegna PDO is only slightly astringent on the palate because the tannins are offset by the high carbohydrate content, which gives the product a sweet flavour.