Radicchio Variegato di Lusia, named after the town which lies about halfway between Chioggia and Verona in Northern Italy’s Veneto region, can be thought of as a mashup of Chioggia shape and Castelfranco color patterning. The attractive round heads are slightly less dense but feature the same diffuse veining pattern as the well-known Chioggia types with wine-red flecking on leaves that are light green on the exterior fading to buttery yellow toward the core. The red flecking gets more and more pronounced towards the center. Like many of the pale to gold radicchi, its bitterness is very mild and its texture most akin to lettuce family greens with a tender crisp crunch (think iceberg meets romaine for an after-dinner amaro). A beautiful addition to salads shredded raw. Grilled wedges are also recommended for just about any of the radicchio types. An excellent choice to win people over to this family of bitter delights or to dip a toe in yourself. 90 days from transplant. Photo and text courtesy of Uprising Seeds.
Gusto Italiano Project is a collaboration between Culinary Breeding Network, Uprising Seeds and northern Italian vegetable breeders at Smarties.bio. The project was born from a mutual love of radicchio and a desire to further establish it as an anchor of the fall and winter produce season here in North America, and specifically the Pacific Northwest. This special line of certified organic radicchio and regional specialty Brassica seeds was bred and grown in Italy by the incredible folks at Smarties.bio. Based in Chioggia, the heart of radicchio’s motherland, Smarties.bio exists at the crossroads of tradition and innovation by bringing years of modern breeding experience to classic, culturally significant vegetables of their region.
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