For me, the artichoke has always conjured up the idea of Italy. Much to the dismay of the Lega Nord, almost all artichokes grown in Italy (around 40% of the world’s production) are cultivated in the south, especially in the regions of Puglia, Sicily and Sardegna. One of my favorite train rides on the boot is the one between Foggia and Bari during artichoke season through tens of thousands of acres of carciofi pugliesi. During the winter and spring, these seasonal vegetables are served in innumerable dishes. At the end of the season, the surplus is preserved under local extra virgin olive oil to allow them to be consumed throughout the year. On a side note, f— you, Bossi.