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Heirloom Spotlight: Chioggia Beets

Chioggia Beets
Chioggia Beets

All cultivated beets are descendants of the sea beet (B. maritima), a wild seashore plant found growing along the Mediterranean and Atlantic coasts of Europe and North Africa. The Chioggia beet is an Italian heirloom variety established circa 1840. It was named for the town in which it was first cultivated, the island fishing village of Chioggia, near the Lagoon of Venice.

The Chioggia beet can be roasted, steamed or braised. Roasting the beet will bring out the most flavor. Chioggia beets can be served cold or hot. They are a great salad beet, whether served alongside greens or as the main ingredient. Chioggia beets pair well with other beets, bacons, apples, butter, cheeses such as goat cheese, Gorgonzola and aged pecorino, cucumbers, crème fraiche, hard-boiled eggs, fennel, mustard, oranges, parsley, smoked fish, shallots and vinegars, especially balsamic, sherry and red wine. Chioggia beets can also be preserved by pickling them. Enjoy!