When I was a child I came into that room full of mud – there really was a lot of mud. And there was a radio going on, one of those old-type with the control knobs. I was bringing my grandparents and my dad the hot tea while they were cleaning radicchio and they surely would have come back home late for dinner. They were happy when my brother and me went to visit them. And then I remember the boxes of radicchio, carefully packed with ribbons and labels, stacked one on the other, ready to be loaded up on the cart of the old Fiat Croma and be taken to the market.
It’s November, days are shortening and the landscape is painted by the hoar frost. The Venetian country is ready to give her most precious fruit: the Red Radicchio of Treviso. Thanks to the local spring water, to the skilled hand of the man and to his lovely care, the radicchio, after a few weeks from the picking, is ready to reach the markets all around the world, protected by the brand IGP, enriching of color and smell the tables of its evaluators. A mixture of fine tastes, from the pleasant slightly bitter to the nice crunchy texture. It’ s a “made in Veneto” which has roots in our history made of patience, work, passion and a visceral attachment to the land. To our land. Innumerables are the recipes in which the winter flower is the main charachter, from the risotto with radicchio, to the sweet and sour-, fried-, grilled-radicchio , or just try it raw as salad. Cakes are not to forget as well, from jams to biscuits.
But where can we sample the true one, the authentic one? Certainly, in its motherland, Veneto. From the farmer directly to your table, you will discover natural tastes and home-made flavours at Agriturismo Al Capitellon, located in the heart of the Venetian country. But if you are in the centre of Treviso, have a visit at L’ Incontro, with selected but simple tastes of the tradition of Treviso.
To discover at the best what this rich land has to offer, I suggest you to choose one of the itineraries recommended by Strada del Radicchio, throughout the little towns of Venice, Padua and Treviso -areas of the major spread of radicchio cultivation- in an emotional path of tastes, history and art.
So, if you find yourself in the lands of Treviso during the most freezing period of the year, be aware of what you are eating: the Winter Flower, an excellence unique in the world.
Today, the radicchio which my grandad grow in the field behind our house, is exactly that one people taste everyday in our family’s farm holiday. His work is esteemed, his life long passion, rewarded.