The island of Sant’Erasmo is most famous for its 'carciofi violetti' purple artichokes, writes The Educated Traveller. “These delicious vegetables thrive in the warm, humid conditions on the island. The fertile soil is slightly salty and gives these delicate plants a delicious and unique flavour. The plants start to grow in early March and by late April the first buds or shoots (i primi germogli) are carefully harvested by hand. They are known as 'castraure'. These early shoots are incredibly tender and prized on the tables of restaurants and homes.”
The carciofi violetti are small, prickly, tender and oblong, says Italian Food, Wine and Travel, “with a purple color and a meaty, delicious heart.” They are carefully harvested by hand with a special knife and are “so delicate that they are typically eaten raw.” Only a limited number are available, and they are offered at only a few local restaurants for a brief period of time, and command high prices at the market.”
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