Purple Artichokes from Sant’ Erasmo island: what a delicacy!
There are two types of purple artichokes one can eat in the province of Venice. They are grown in Chioggia and on Sant’ Erasmo, an island in the north of the Venetian lagoon, still considered the orchard of Venice. In fact since the Middle Ages it has supplied Venice with vegetables as it does today. Green asparagus, cauliflowers, different kinds of salads, peppers, white and brown eggplants and of course purple artichokes are sold at Rialto, the main market in Venice.
From the mid of April baby artichokes, castraure in Venetian dialect, are available for a short time, just for fifteen days being the first ones of the harvest. They are cut in advance to let other artichokes grow from the same plant. Those second hand ones are called botoli and sottobotoli and at least eighteen to twenty pieces of those are produced by the same plant.
Risotto with shrimps and artichokes
Those vegetables are also famous for their tender taste with a light bitter aftertaste. They can be cooked in several ways such as deep-fried or added to mussels. One of the best recipes is shrimps with artichokes.
On the first half of May a festival dealing with artichokes takes place. At the Maximilian tower on the island the tasting of the artichokes is organized and local products are sold to the participants.