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Product of Italy: Carciofo of Paestum, protected geographical designation

Due to the area's very favorable climate and soil characteristics, artichokes always thrived in the Sele river valley. Following the vast land reclamation projects of the 1920's and the later land-ownership reforms, however, artichoke growing became widespread. The presence of artichokes in the Sele flatland is first mentioned in the 1811 statistics of the Kingdom of Naples, and later, in 1949, by Migliorini in his Economic Geography compendium. The most in-depth description of the prevalence, importance and potential of artichoke cultivation in the Sele flatland was made by Bruni who, in 1960, mentioned the Castellamare artichoke as a separate variety. This mention was later cited by other authors as a precursor of the new denomination of 'Carciofo tondo di Paestum', or 'Paestum's round artichoke'. More recently, artichokes have become an important cash crop, with a resulting substantial expansion of the growing areas, while growers' expertise has improved. The Paestum artichoke belongs to the 'Romanesco' artichoke family, but has a number of unique features, including its large size, sub-spherical shape and pleasant taste, resulting from the painstaking growing techniques developed by local farmers.

The popularity of this vegetable is driven by its valuable features, which include the health benefits resulting from its salts and vitamin contents. Artichokes contain calcium, phosphorous, iron, sodium, potassium, A, B1, B2, C and PP vitamins, nolic acid, citric acid, cynarin, tammin and sugars. It acts, therefore, as a tonic, stimulates liver functions, has a calming effect on cough, helps purify the bloodstream, strengthens the heart, dissolves kidney stones and combats toxins. As a result, Paestum's artichokes, thanks to their organoleptic and morphological features, are highly prized by the market and by cooks, who use them in the preparation of many typical local recipes, including pizza with artichoke hearts, artichoke cream and artichoke 'pasticcio' (pudding).




Source: Ismea, Italy - Institute of Services for the Agricultural and Alimentary Market)

by S. C.
04 january 2010, World News > Italy

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