There are many reasons to plan a spring vacation in Italy. There are certainly flowers. Among the many flower festivals in Italy going full tilt this time of year, we are currently celebrating daffodils at Villa la Pescigola in the Lunigiana.
But there is also a celebration of the first signs of the growing season, the promise of spring. In Rome there’s puntarella, a season that’s already passed. Here in Tuscany there is agretti and spring fave, in many places in Italy folks forage for wild asparagus, and in Puglia the markets are awash in lampascioni, the little, slightly bitter bulbs you see in the picture above.
If summer is associated with the lush ripeness of tomatoes, then lampascioni are the perfect hint of spring, crunchy, lively, blushingly pink and slightly bitter—a valid taste in Italy and in other places where the increasing sophistication of palates with age isn’t altogether hindered by the evolutionary stone wall of sugar and its derivatives promoted by industrial crap food factories.
In the picture you see them as served as an antipasto by the chef at Park Hotel Villa Americana in Rodi Garganico—preserved with a little vinegar and olive oil.
You can get a full picture of Lampascioni from Nancy Harmon Jenkins
Simplicity, that’s the ticket. It’s interesting living in a land where food is seasonal. It’s fun to have something good to look forward to at just about any time of the year.
There’s a whole site (in Italian) devoted to lampascioni. The site has picture of an ancient clay statue on its home page. It is not a statue representing a pile of lampascioni at a market. It is a large-breasted woman. Perhaps lampascioni are important for breast development. Or perhaps it is just more food porn.
Who can tell? Life is hard. Lampascioni are good. Trust me.