/Carciofi Romaneschi

Carciofi Romaneschi

Yesterday I paid &#8364 7 for a single carciofo alla giudia. I’m not really sure how I feel about that. I mean, the deep fried mammola artichoke (aka carciofi romanesco), had crispy trimmed outer leaves and a supremely tender heart. Everything about it was absolutely perfect, but 14.000 Lira? Madonna. The prices in the market are equally stunning, ranging from &#8364 1.10-1.80 each, depending on the neighborhood. I suppose this is just more proof that this local species of artichokes is pure culinary gold. Or possibly just a fulfillment of the market forces that drive food prices.

Historically, the first week in February sees the highest prices for carciofi romaneschi during its long October to May growing season. Consequently, you will find less expensive artichokes from other regions sold in Rome’s markets, especially from Sardegna, Puglia, and Sicily. These three regions produce far more artichokes than Lazio (the region where Rome is located), and each region dedicates at least 14 times the land that Lazio does to their cultivation. But none of them produces the sweet-hearted, compact, spherical perfection that is the prized carciofo romanesco.

2016-01-07T03:42:09+00:00 February 11th, 2010|Categories: Culture, Fried Foods, Gastronomic Traditions, Rome & Lazio|10 Comments


  1. mll February 11, 2010 at 11:06 pm - Reply

    katie parla – it’s mel from yale. love the food blog!! makes me happy everyday! keep it up!!

  2. Carmelita February 13, 2010 at 12:20 am - Reply

    Here in Bologna they are called Mammole, Mammole Romane, sometimes shortened to Mamme.

    I?m guessing you paid so much because they are “primizie”, the very first of the season.

    Hopefully they will get cheaper as the season for this particular beauty gets going. I believe its season is March/April.

  3. Louise February 14, 2010 at 9:22 pm - Reply

    Hi – just dropping by from up here in Piemonte, via ItalyTutto. I’ve never seen these Roman carciofi in our market here. Perhaps you guys eat them all before they get a chance to travel so far north! Sound good though!

  4. Cellar Tours February 17, 2010 at 5:49 pm - Reply

    I could kill for a carciofo alla giudia right now!!
    In Rome I’ve never paied less than 5 euros for it, but it so delicious and I cannot find carciofo alla giudia in Lombardy … and I am not able to cook it 🙁

  5. Mamma Parla February 21, 2010 at 4:18 am - Reply

    No price is too much to pay for such deliciousness!

  6. Nick Camerlenghi March 1, 2010 at 11:54 pm - Reply

    I think that is disgraceful.
    But, if its any consolation, I had the same exact 7 Euro treatment, but four years ago! It was on Via Querini in Testaccio (close to ne Arte ne Parte) a place that has since closed down. I made such a scene about it when the check came, cause of course the price was not listed on the menu: “We’re not tourists you know.” Interestingly, I was with Elizabeth Gilbert, who was researching “Eat, Pray, Love,” at the time.

  7. A Guide to Roman Fried Food June 19, 2010 at 6:27 pm - Reply

    […] alla giudia are carciofi romaneschi that have been stripped of around sixty-percent of their outer leaves. They are deep fried in extra […]

  8. Marina June 25, 2011 at 5:39 pm - Reply

    Hi, I was just reading your post on eating seasonal Roman food and just read this one on Roman artichokes. Have you ever been to the Sagra del Carciofo in Ladispoli? http://www.prolocoladispoli.it/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=31&Itemid=58

    I happened upon it a couple years ago when in the area for a wedding. Talk about cheap artichokes… I wrote about it in my blog: http://pigmeup.blogspot.com/2008/05/carciofi.html

  9. Simon February 22, 2012 at 5:34 pm - Reply

    Two years later (22 Feb 2012) I’ve just paid €4 for a beautiful carciofo all giudia in a Roman restaurant. That’s deflation!

  10. […] Food:  Carciofi Romaneschi Sweet-hearted, compact, spherical […]

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