As well as nourishing us, food these days is expected to be attractive enough to grace our Instagram feeds, which is probably why one particular item in particular is popping up on social media channels all over the world. Avocados are looking positively passé now that pink lettuce is the new darling of the social media world, which is possibly why radicchio, the Italian word for chicory, has been nicknamed “millennial pink lettuce.”
Radicchio del Veneto, also called La Rosa del Veneto, is a pink chicory that originated in the Veneto region of Italy in the 15th century, although it can also be found in places like California and Pennsylvania. It is hardly surprising that restaurants are embracing the trend for radicchio, as its pink leaves make it aesthetically pleasing on the plate.
It has similar properties to a radish and is described as having a bold, bitter flavour, but that bitterness is usually addressed and counter-balanced in the myriad recipes that are springing up all over the world.
We increasingly see travellers posting pink lettuce images to their feeds, as the trend for the pretty food item continues to spread. Many chefs are getting on board and embracing the vegetable, using it as a decorative garnish or as even as the primary focus of a dish.
Radicchio isn’t just a pretty trend though as it is also considered to be a healthy food. It is very low in calories, making it popular with health-conscious travellers, and is a source of vitamin K, which can help improve bone health.
Quercetin and lycopene are responsible for giving the radicchio its signature pink hue and both have antioxidant properties.