The winter flowers bloom in the frozen fields, sporting their shiny red leaves embroidered with frost. They are picked by hand (the pickers wear gloves), in the scarce light of the cold season and distributed to the tables all over the province of Treviso. They are the plants of the Red Chicory from Treviso and the Variegated variety from Castelfranco, both have the PGI appellation and they are the undisputed protagonists of the Exhibition "Winter Flowers".
From November to March, from the hills up to the territory of the Veneto region, chicory may be sampled in all its varieties and appreciated in a myriad of recipes.
The first historical evidence of the Red Chicory from Treviso dates back, according to expert botanists, to the seventeenth century while for the Variegated variety from Castelfranco the date is later, not before the nineteenth century. The three varieties of Trevisan chicory – the Late Red, the Early Red and the Variegated from Castelfranco – are all the products of a social, agricultural and economical part of history that makes them unique in the panorama of horticultural produce in the world.
Back in December of the year 1900 Professor Giuseppe Benzi organized the first exhibition of the red flower, practically the ancestor of the shows held today, under the loggia of Piazza dei Signori in Treviso.
As well as sitting down at a laden table at one of the village feasts dedicated to this horticultural wonder, you can find out more about the Chicory plant in its ideal habitat also following one of the organized oeno-gastronomical itineraries. The 'Strada del Radicchio' winds its way along courses of water, through villas, oases, mills and castles, where you can find hospitality and tradition among the little villages where this winter vegetable is grown.
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