The Gorizia rose is unique red chicory: a gastronomic specialty.
Gorizia sits on the left bank of the river Isonzo, on the alluvial plain it created and it is surrounded by hills of Eocene origin that, to the east belong to the Republic of Slovenia, while to the northwest, make up the Collio, famous for its wines and agricultural goods. The wide variety of conditions and cultures that gravitate on it has produced over the centuries a rich and varied gastronomic tradition. In the urban vegetable gardens and in the agricultural areas located on the outskirts of the city, a local variety of red chicory (Cichorium intybus) has been cultivated since ancient times, similar to a rose that has just blossomed: the Rose of Gorizia.
Known since the days of the Habsburgs, in recent years its popularity has spread further both at national and European levels. The more traditional generation of local farmers has always produced this type of radicchio, which embodied one of the few secure crops that gave a safe income during winter.
The popular technique involves sowing with oats or other winter cereal crops. At birth, the radicchio is preserved from the heat of the sun by the seedlings of cereals. When mowing the cereals, the prevailing crop will be that of the radicchio, which will begin to develop the foliage rapidly.
In October, the Rose reaches the optimal size, and the color of the leaves turns from deep green to reddish with the first frost. Its heart is protected by the larger outer leaves that protect it from the frost. At this stage, it is ready for harvesting.
The Rose is collected in bunches with roots and is stored in sheltered areas to preserve it from frost that would compromise the vitality necessary for the subsequent processing in which the radicchio is placed on warm bedding allowing complete maturation. This last procedure lasts from 15 to 20 days.
The Rose has an intense flavor, slightly bitter, crisp. The color is bright red with variegated shades towards pink or garnet red.
In January, during the annual flowering of this exclusive radicchio, several restaurateurs in Gorizia prepare a series of tasting menus from appetizers to desserts and the Rosa di Gorizia is clearly the absolute protagonist.