Queen Viola Cipolla
of Tropea Story and photos by Tom Weber
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.
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.
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).
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.
Long live the Queen! Queen Viola Cipolla of Tropea,
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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.
--- 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 couldnt even recognize what I was eating. Come to
think of it I couldnt 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!) ---
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
Three Musical Pilgrimages: Mozart, Grieg and Hendrix
Johann Chrysostom Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756 - 1791)
could read and compose music, plus play the violin and piano, when he was
five years old. Born into a musical family in Salzburg, Austria (then the
Holy Roman Empire), he had a unique ability for imitating music, which first
became evident when he recited a musical piece by simply observing his father
conducting a lesson to his older sister. This led to a childhood on the
road, where the young prodigy performed before many of the royal courts
Treasures of Ireland: The Irish Goodbye (Dispatch
The Palladian Traveler brings to a close his 20-part
series on the Emerald Isle from an upscale restaurant in downtown Dublin
where he files his final dispatch and then quietly slips away.