Seed Saving: Intermediate
Radicchio from Castelfranco (Chicorium intybus)
Radicchio from Castelfranco (Chicorium intybus): This ancient variety comes from the pleasant village of Castelfranco in Veneto (Northern-Italy), beautiful and tasty. It was selected at the end of the 19th century and looked after by hardworking venetians until the current variety was reached.
It has great organoleptic properties and it is easy to grow. The only not-so-easy feature about it is, in order to obtain a truly exceptional product (just like the Red Raddichio from treviso and the Scarole) it is necessary to use the bleaching technique, explained below.
To quote the site of Castelfranco’s municipality: “The splendid colours, the shape just like an open rose, the delicacy on the palate, and its beautiful appearance make it one of the most admired radicchios"
Its slightly curled leaves are presented with a variety of colours distributed in balance over the entire surface, with veins ranging from wine red, to purple, to light purple. The flavour varies from slightly sweet to bitter, but at the same time remains delicate. It was appointed IGP in 1996”
Bleaching the Radicchio from Castelfranco :
As in the Late Radicchio from Treviso and the Scarola (“parents “of this variety), the bleaching technique improves its organoleptic and aesthetic qualities.
This process can be omitted in the Scarola, but it is necessary in the Radicchio. You can use the technique described for two other varieties, however, as this is larger we share another one.
After two months of transplanting, when the head is well formed, pick it by extirpating the root and leaving about 10 cm of taproot. Place them in a container that is large enough, keep the tufts tight together so they can support each other.
Then fill the container (a tab or vasin will work fine) with water up to the collar of the raddichio (about 10 cm of water). Then cover everything with a cloth that shields it from the light. It will be ready after about 10/25 days.
The water should be at a temperature of around 10º c and should be changed at least every two days. Meanwhile, the Raddichio will grow white and variegated, it will take on a delicate flavour and a tender consistency. When ready, remove the outer leaves and you will get an Italian excellence.