The Golden Fennel of Isola di Capo Rizzuto – Italian Cuisine

The Golden Fennel of Isola di Capo Rizzuto


The gold of Capo Rizzuto is called fennel: a special quality that is characterized by its scent, almost absent fibrosity and persistent aroma

The first time that Mr. Esselunga received fennel from Calabria, he called the producers and said: "Viva Capo Rizzuto, here there is an intoxicating taste in the whole supermarket!" Indeed it is just so: the fennels of Isola di Capo Rizzuto really have something more, both from the organoleptic point of view and from the social point of view.

The origin of the product

According to some sources, the origin of Finocchio di Isola di Capo Rizzuto is to be found in Magna Graecia, in particular in the municipality of Marathon which in Greek means fennel (for the abundance of fennel in the area). In Calabria it has been present for at least 160 years, particularly in those marvelous 5 thousand hectares of Ionic strip ranging from Strongoli to Botricello, up to 200 meters above sea level. Over time it has spread more and more, but above all it has been linked to the local culture, so much so that almost everyone cultivates it, even if only for personal consumption.

What sets it apart from other fennels

The fennel of Isola di Capo Rizzuto differs from the others in three main characteristics: its perfume, which as Bernardo Caprotti noted, is much stronger and intoxicating, especially if cut and opened as soon as it is picked from the field; for the almost absent fibrosity, or at least extremely attenuated, which leads him to have very few "filaments" inside it; and finally for his persistent aroma, which lasts really long in the mouth.

Because it is called "golden"

It is called "gold" because it represents a very precious economic resource for the territory, a gold mine. In the last ten years, above all thanks to the work of the Promoting Committee of the Fennel of Isola di Capo Rizzuto and its President Aldo Luciano, have greatly increased local labor, with new processing and armature creation plants. To date, 60 companies are part of the Committee, even if the number is only growing; their purpose is to promote this product and obtain the PGI, but above all to try to keep most of the processing as locally as possible. "We are selling it both nationally and internationally, always according to good agricultural practices, demonstrating that we can combine quality with quantity". And from a couple of years to May, at the end of production, they also organize the festival in his honour.

The production period

The fennel of Isola di Capo Rizzuto is produced from September to May; it is therefore a long period of production, but which does not include the whole year, leaving the three summer months uncovered (a period in which most of the fennels come from Emilia Romagna). So recently the Promoting Committee decided to experiment with one silana cultivation to be able to have the product also in June, July and August, with new plants on the Sila where the temperatures are different. Waiting for the verdict, we wish you a good tasting.

In the kitchen

In the kitchen it is an extremely versatile product. The best way to fully savor its taste is raw as a meal appetizer or in the end how digestive (remember that the digestive one is one of its greatest properties). But it is also less cooked, for example in creams and velvets, or gratinated, as it is prepared chef Christmas Balloon of the restaurant Ruris of Isola di Capo Rizzuto, combined with the famous Cutro Bread and mixed with Pecorino Crotonese DOP, another excellence of the region. And you think that this dish was even noticed, cited and appreciated even by the "New York Times".

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