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Queen Viola Cipolla of Tropea

Queen Viola Cipolla of Tropea
Story and photos by Tom Weber

Genoa, Italy

red onion of Tropea

Ever heard of Queen Viola Cipolla of Tropea? No? Well, in most, if not all Italian kitchens, Queen Viola Cipolla of Tropea, who hails from Calabria, is a member of an elite family. And that family is known here in the Bel Paese as the cipolla (onion), the "queen of the kitchen."

Queen Viola Cipolla of Tropea just happens to be the peninsula's most prized onion and she's the color viola (purple). The Queen, along with her king, garlic - BAM! (Thank you Emeril) - are the royalty of the core ingredients found in la cucina Italiana.

red onion of Tropea and garlic

Available year round, the new season of Queen Viola is seeded under the cool air of the fall in the fields around Golfo Vaticano (Vatican Golf), near the city of Tropea, overlooking the Calabrese stretch of the Tyrrhenian seacoast. In May-June she's harvested, and June-July she begins to hold court at countless open-air markets and the most popular supermarket chains throughout Italy and beyond. Unique among onions, in 2008 the European Union registered the regal Cipolla Rossa di Tropea (Red Onion of Tropea) under its Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) mark.

red onion of Tropea, 2nd picture

As a devoted subject, I happen to love Queen Viola. As my queen, she's sweet; so much so, they even make marmalade out of her. And best of all, my queen doesn't leave you running for mouthwash like most of her yellow or white-skinned relatives of the onion realm. I bow to her and pay homage whenever she's thinly sliced over fresh salads, grilled alongside meats and seafood, or skewered onto juicy and colorful spiedini (shish kebabs).

sliced red onion of Tropea

Whether you spend lots of time cooking or, like me, just carry around a good fork, I dare you to wipe off your cutting board and allow Queen Viola into your kitchen. She's Calabria's sweet-tasting, deep-purple royalty and really deserves a try the next time you reach for an onion.

sliced red onion of Tropea, 2nd picture

Long live the Queen! Queen Viola Cipolla of Tropea, that is..

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Visit other recipes:
Chocolates for Valentine's Day
Super Bowl Recipes
Clayton Lettuce - Delicious!
Lazy Person's Spaghetti con Gamberetti In Aglio, Olio e Peperocino
Sgroppino: Venice Untied
Lazy Person's Farfalle con Piselli e Pancetta
Lazy Person's Raviolini In Butter and Sage
A Penne Peppered Pranzo With Pavarotti
Lazy Person's Blazing Saddles Bean Soup
Hugo: The Alpine Spritz
A Splash of Venice in Every Glass
Lazy Person's "Taste the Salt" Pasta
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Lazy Person's Semolina No. 5 In Red Sauce Minor
Lazy Person's Creamy Prosciutto Cotto Arrosto Pasta
Apfelstrudel
Lazy Person's Bell Pepper Sauce-Based Flatbread Pizza
Lazy Person's Golden Rush Bell Pepper Sauce
Lazy Person's Pancetta 'n' Peppers 'Deep Throat' Pasta
Lazy Person's John Montagu Plain Omelette-Smoked Salmon Panino
Lazy Person's Pesto Based Flatbread Pizza
Queen Viola Cipolla of Tropea
The Caesar Salad
Thanksgiving Recipe - Circa 1621
Smoked Salmon
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Costolette di Vittelo Milanese
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Lutefisk - From Norway
Feijoada Completa
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A McDreamy McMeel
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Hi Audrey,

Love your lamb shanks.

--- Paul, Scottsdale AZ

Haven't been called Tad for . . .gee, maybe I've NEVER been called Tad . . . guess I'm the only one with chutzpah enough to mention Bourdain. BRILLIANT?

--- Ken, Shutesbury, MA

I think we must have had an entirely different experience in the UK. (Fresh Food and Real Ale – week 1). We were up in Edinburgh and they served something called ‘Neeps & Tatties.’ The items were boiled so long that I couldn’t even recognize what I was eating. Come to think of it… I couldn’t taste them either. Later I found that Neeps’ are Turnips and ‘Tatties’ are potatoes.

--- Lindy, Phoenix, AZ

My mouth was watering as I read some of your descriptions of the fantastic fare of ... England? I had always felt smug about the lowly reputation of British cuisine as this gave us at least one country with a worse culinary reputation than America's. I guess I'll have to change my views. Your article made me actually want to take a CULINARY tour of Britain. Yummy yummy yummy.

--- Sandy Miner, Portland, OR

Thanks for your note. Thanks to Traveling Boy I get to interview a world famous chef this week who is widely recognized as spearheading the Yummy movement in Ireland. Guess I'll have to take yet another culinary tour a little further north and check it out... (I love my job!) --- Audrey

Very interesting, mouth-watering piece by Audrey! (A McDreamy McMeel). Your web site is fascinating!

--- Susie, Victoria, BC

Combining travel, food, and intelligent advice -- BRILLIANT! Your site fills a long-felt need for hungry roamers. Keep it up! It's Anthony Bourdain with reservations and CLASS.

--- Tad, Boston, MA


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Ed Boitano's travel blog/review
Eugene Chaplin Introduces Chaplin's World Museum in Vevey, Switzerland

Charlie Chaplin and the Chaplin Museum
Lake Geneva/ Matterhorn Region and Switzerland Tourism recently blew into Los Angeles with the most esteemed guest, Eugene Chaplin. A man of remarkable lineage, he is the fifth child of Oona O'Neill and Sir Charles Spencer "Charlie" Chaplin, the grandson of playwright Eugene O'Neill, the brother of Geraldine Chaplin and father of actress/model Kiera Chaplin.

Go There

Tom Weber's travel blog/review
Treasures of Ireland: The Burren (Dispatch #14)

a dolmen at The Burren

The Palladian Traveler ventures back to the days of fearless Celtic warriors to search for some "stones to take you home" as he files his latest dispatch from the monochromatic moonscape known as The Burren.

Go There


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