Italian food is often protected by trademarks which guarantee its origin or manufacturing process.
For instance, Radicchio Tardivo Rosso (Late red radicchio, a winter crop) from the area of Treviso, which has an IGP trademark guaranteeing its geographical origin, is the most highly valued variety of this particular type of leaf vegetable, for a number of reasons.
First of all, the lengthy manual process which is necessary, and even stipulated by a set of regulations, before this vegetable can be put on the market.
When harvested, radicchio still has its roots attached and, during the initial blanching phase, is tied in bunches and immersed in tanks filled with water whose temperature has to be kept constant. After fifteen or twenty days, the radicchio is ready for the final trimming operation.
This procedure is not only aimed at making the radicchio look more attractive but also enhances its unmistakable flavour and consistency: the other reason why radicchio tardivo di Treviso is so highly prized.
Its slightly bitter taste and crispness are the two main characteristics which make radicchio di Treviso an invaluable and versatile ingredient in Italian recipes: it is excellent when added to traditional or creative salads, possibly enhanced by walnuts, extremely tasty when grilled and absolutely unique as an ingredient for preparing gourmet risottos and other first courses.