Ticino Gniff carrot

Ark of taste
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The Ticino purple carrot, also locally known as gniff, is a carrot variety that is traditionally grown in some mountain areas of the Canton of Ticino, in Switzerland. It is provided with a taproot, its core is white, while the outside is dark purple. It is conical and 10-15 cm long, with a diameter of 4 cm, at a maximum. Its name comes from the Ticino dialect: the term gniff was referred to the carrot and, in the Canton of Ticino, the white-purple variety was the only indigenous one. There are many differences between gniffs and traditional carrots: not just colour and shape, but also taste. The gniff is less sweet and sligthly woodier, and, thanks to this feature, this carrot variety always stands out when cooked with other types of carrots. As it often happens for many traditional products, there are neither sources documenting specific growing or harvesting practices, nor written documents referring of precise recipes where this carrot was used. It can be almost certainly said that this carrot was grown exactly as other carrot varieties in other places; for what regards its use in the kitchen, since the local carrots were considered as “normal”, gniffs may have been used on a daily basis, without any specific recipes (even when they were served in vinegar, a quite common cooking practice). Thanks to cook Meret Bissegger and ProSpecieRara, the seeds of this old variety were made available and gniffs can also be found in local street markets, even though are still quite rare.

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Production area:Canton of Ticino

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Vegetables and vegetable preserves

Nominated by:Milo Bissegger