Rosa di Gorizia: a rarity – Italian Cuisine

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This rare winter radicchio with the shape of a scarlet flower is grown only by about fifteen heroic Friulian farmers on a small plot of land, which is why it is so precious.




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There is a rose that needs the cold to grow and blossom: it is the precious Rosa di Gorizia, a winter radicchio with the shape of a scarlet flower. A fifteen farmers Friulians cultivate it on a small plot of land, with the tenacity of a mission. That of safeguarding a jewel of the territory, which for centuries has grown in the gravelly soil of the Gorizia area; and to continue producing it with the long e laborious traditional workmanship (eight months, double the amount of red radicchio). The sowing, with seeds that each farmer selects for himself, is done in April, because the spring rains make the roots grow deeply. With the autumn frost, the time of harvest arrives (at the end of November, at 80% of ripeness): the plants, grubbed up by hand, are forced to ripen in the peat "trenches", in the dark and in the heat. In 15 days the outer leaves rot while the heart turns bright red and crunchy: after cleaning (about 70% of the plant), the precious buds are ready.

The birth of the Association and the Giro d'Italia with the Rose
In 2010 the Rosa di Gorizia Producers Association (larosadigorizia.com) was born, to protect its uniqueness against similar less valuable varieties; but also for disseminate knowledge. For 2019, he organized "The Giro d'Italia with the Rose", which ended with a recipe book by the many chefs involved in the event.

How to taste it
Delicious in purity, the peculiarity of the Rosa di Gorizia is not only its appearance. The crunchiness of the leaves and the unique taste have many admirers: from the restaurants of his city, which dedicate them themed menus; up to renowned chefs like the Friulians Emanuele Scarello And Antonia Klugmann or Diego Bongiovanni (La Prova del Cuoco), who received it at the "Gusti di Frontiera" festival. "The flavor of the Rose is a perfect balance between bitter and sweet, with delicate hints of artichoke" says Michela Fabbro, chef of the Rosenbar restaurant in Gorizia and contact person for the Slow Food della Rosa Presidium. «An excellence to be savored raw, as natural as possible: our tastings begin with pure radicchio tastings, accompanied by boiled potatoes, beans or hard-boiled egg, according to the peasant tradition. Then, with the less noble parts of the rose, many dishes can be prepared: from first courses, such as crepes with ricotta and barley, to sautéed side dishes with a pinch of horseradish to accompany meat and fish, up to potato roll and a reinterpretation of "strucolo in straza", the typical boiled strudel from Gorizia wrapped in a cloth (straza) concludes the chef.

January 2022
Marina Cella

Posted on 13/01/2022

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