Drubiaglio Flat Blond Onion

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Drubiaglio is a small village that is part of the municipality of Avigliana, situated in a natural basin surrounded by wooded moraine hills, at the gateway to the Susa Valley.

The territory, now safe, in the past was subject to flooding by the Dora Riparia and the Torrente Messa, whose contribution of silt made the soil very fertile, excellent for the cultivation of a particular onion, known as the flat blond onion of Drubiaglio, recognised for its shape, sweetness and digestibility.

The Drubiaglio flat blond onion is an indigenous ecotype with a flat, rounded bulb and an outer skin that is golden blond or straw yellow in colour, but white inside. It can be found unripe, marketed as ‘cipollotto’ (siolot, in dialect), to be eaten fresh, or as ‘serbo’, traditionally harvested and stored in plaits.

This onion is in the historical memory of the village, in the stories of the older people, and it has also left traces in very ancient testimonies. Many goods were transported on the roads of the Valsusa valley: from the Alpine passes to Rome, when the duty station ‘ad fine Cotii’ existed in Drubiaglio. And it is precisely in Drubiaglio and the neighbouring village of Grangia that its cultivation still takes place, in accordance with techniques handed down from generation to generation, with the self-reproduction of the seed after careful selection of the best specimens. Traditionally, the seeds are buried on St Catherine’s Day (26 November) and the seedlings are transplanted between the end of April and the beginning of May.
An old popular saying suggests special precautions to be followed: ‘Says the little onion: when transplanting, just cover my beard if you want it to become large’.

The flat blond onion from Drubiaglio can be used to make stuffed onions (siule piene), traditional onion soup, as a condiment for gnocchi with a little oil and butter or simply enjoyed in salads.

The custodian farmers who cultivate the onion and keep the seed unchanged are mostly hobby farmers, now in their old age, but with a desire to protect and pass on a local heritage closely linked to the land. Only three farms grow onions; most of the other local farms have converted to monoculture maize cultivation, the biomass from which is delivered to the local biodigester.

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Production area:Avigliana Municipality (Torino province)

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Vegetables and vegetable preserves

Nominated by:Fiorenza Arisio