Arquà Petrarca (Veneto) – It’s considered a fruit and resembles a cross between an olive and a date, but it tastes like neither. Vendors scooped them into bags for about 3-4€/kilo and offered samples to curious onlookers. The flavor reminds me of an apple when not completely ripened, but they are supposed to be much sweeter when matured. Some folks may recognize them as jujube, or chinese red dates, but In Italy they’re called giuggiole [JOO-joh-leh] and has its own celebration at the Festa delle Giuggiole.
On today’s broadcast of La Prova del Cuoco (an italian cooking show), giuggiole was featured in 2 traditional recipes which appeared to have won approval from host Antonella Clerici. The first was a strudel (combining salsiccia, white grapes, giuggiole and pecorino for a sweet and savory filling), and the second was a fruit-enhanced soup called Brodo di giuggiole.
You’ll want to explore Arquà Petrarca since it’s noted as one of the most beautiful villages in Italy, yet the best discovery I made was this double-scoop of gelato: uva fragola (concord grape) and giuggiole. The intense, grape candy flavor really came through here, making the giuggiole pale in comparison. For more substantial fare, there wasn’t a whole lot, but this menu (written in partial dialect) was pretty cool to read.