Artichokes (Globe Artichokes) are exquisite vegetables to look at and eat. Almost shaped like a thistle, with tightly coiled leaves tinged with purple, they were first cultivated in Italy.
The outer leaves can sometimes be spiky and the tips of them are best cut off during preparation. The most popular way to eat them is to boil them in water and consume them using your fingers, dipping the leaves in oil and vinegar as you go. Preserved artichoke hearts are also a favourite part of an Italian antipasto dish.
The flavour is difficult to describe but delicious. Artichokes are best eaten fresh and keep well in the fridge for only a few days. Artichokes contain a chemical that enhances the sensation of sweet flavours.