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Artichoke hearts from Salerno Italy: a look behind the scenes of the production of this exclusive antipasti speciality

Italienische Handernte Artischocken Paestum Salerno von Di Bennardo

Let us take you on a culinary journey to discover the origins of Italy's delicious artichoke hearts. More specifically, we turn our attention to the Salerno region near Paestum in sunny southern Italy, known for its exquisite artichokes.

The producers of this region are familiar in the art of growing noble artichokes. To ensure premium quality, they use purely organic harvesting techniques. Everything is gently picked and processed by hand. The fertile volcanic soils, the mild climate and the careful traditional handwork make Salerno an ideal place for growing this delicate vegetable.

A brief introduction to the artichoke plant

The area where artichokes are grown: Salerno in Italy

In Salerno, each artichoke has its own character and flavor, which is shaped by the unique soil conditions and the Mediterranean climate. The mild winters and hot summers and the proximity of the Mediterranean Sea make these artichokes (cultivar: Carciofo di Paestum) thrive particularly well. Farmers ensure that the artichokes are processed quickly after harvesting to preserve their freshness and quality.

The fertile soils in Paestum, in the municipality of Capaccio in the province of Salerno, are rich in minerals and nutrients that further give the artichoke hearts their intense aroma and distinctive flavor.

The farmers in this region have centuries of experience in growing artichokes and use traditional sustainable techniques to ensure premium quality. Thanks to the loving care and dedication of the farmers, the artichoke hearts in Salerno can reach their full potential and become a culinary experience for connoisseurs. Once the artichokes are harvested, the process of processing and production of the delicate artichoke hearts begins.

Italienische Artischockenernte in den Feldern von Di Bennardo

From the field to the pickled artichoke hearts in olive oil: the production steps

Italienischer Produktionsmitarbeiter Artischocken Bio Paestum Salerno von Di Bennardo

Seasonal harvest of mini artichokes in Salerno: when quality meets timing

The harvest of the mini artichokes is carefully planned from April to early May. Depending on the current annual climate, the farmers know the perfect time to harvest these small artichokes by gentle handwork when they have reached maturity and the right size. The season is short, but the culinary results are impressive. The harvest yield, on the other hand, is meager. Six people harvest a mere 100 to 150 kilograms per day.

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Italienische Produktion Artischockenherzen Paestum Salerno Bio von Di Bennardo

First step of processing. The transformation: from artichokes to artichoke hearts

After harvesting, the artichokes are gently prepared in elaborate manual work to expose their tender hearts. The outer leaves are carefully removed with a small sharp knife to get to the true treasures of this vegetable. This transformation process is an art in which the producers use their experience and skills to obtain the perfect artichoke hearts.

Italienische Artischockenherzen Handselektion Paestum Salerno Bio von Di Bennardo

The smallest artichoke hearts: sorting between 'Il piccolo' and 'Il mignon

In the assortment of mini artichoke hearts, we distinguish between two varieties: 'Il piccolo' and 'Il mignon'. 'Il piccolo' are smallest artichoke hearts (diameter 1.5 to 2 cm about 15 pieces per 180g jar) while 'Il mignon' are even smaller and have a tiny diameter of only 1 cm, per 180g jar there are up to 55 artichoke hearts, which are pickled.

Italienische Artischockenherzen in Zitronenwasser Paestum Salerno Bio von Di Bennardo

The pickling of artichoke hearts in lemon water

To preserve the freshness and quality of the artichoke hearts, they are soaked in lemon water for three to four hours after being prepared and sorted. This step not only ensures the preservation of the bright yellow color, but also a fresh and slightly acidic taste that emphasizes the natural flavors of the artichoke hearts.

Cooking in harmony: the perfect ratio of water and white wine vinegar

Before the artichoke hearts are filled into jars, they are gently cooked in a mixture of water and white wine vinegar. In a large pan they are cooked in a ratio of 50% water and 50% white wine vinegar for a few minutes.

Italienischer Produktionsschritt einlegen Artischocken Paestum Salerno Bio von Di Bennardo

Craft with love: the careful draping of the artichoke hearts in jars

Placing the artichoke hearts in the jars requires precise craftsmanship, a lot of time and loving devotion. Each individual artichoke heart is carefully placed and draped with tweezers. This step illustrates the appreciation and respect for the product, and shows that each jar is filled with the utmost care.

Italienische Artischocken Paestum Salerno Bio Trocknung von Di Bennardo

Time to dry: 24 hours patience for the perfect result

After soft cooking, the artichoke hearts need a lot of time to dry. They are carefully placed on boards of bamboo and line and rest for 24 hours to remove excess moisture. Only then are they carefully placed in the jars together with extra virgin olive oil.

Italienischer Produktionsschritt Olivenöl einfüllen Artischocken Paestum Salerno Bio von Di Bennardo

The golden finish: topping up with extra virgin olive oil

To preserve the flavor and preservation, the jars are filled with premium extra virgin olive oil. The oil coats the artichoke hearts and preserves their flavor and tenderness.

Italienisches Handwerk Miniartischocken Paestum Salerno von Di Bennardo

Artichoke hearts as an antipasti delicacy: The premium quality of Di Bennardo

The quality of Di Bennardo artichoke hearts is due to several factors. Our artichoke hearts are exclusively of the regional variety "Carciofi di Paestum", whose availability is limited. The round appearance of their flower heads, their high firmness and the absence of thorns in the bracts are the main qualitative and characteristic features of "Carciofo di Paestum". Other typical characteristics of the product are the average size of the flower heads (no more than 4 per stem and kg of product), the stem of less than 10 cm, the green color with purple-pink shades and the fleshy and particularly tasty flower base.

In addition to these characteristics, our premium artichoke hearts are the result of a careful and laborious cultivation technique that our producers of the Sele plain have refined over decades with their know-how. The artichokes are cultivated, harvested and processed in their own fields in a traditional family farm, exactly in the same place of their origin in Paestum near Salerno. The cool and rainy climate during the long production period (February to May), characteristic of this area in Campania, also gives the product its typical and appreciated tenderness and delicacy.

A time-intensive as well as precise craft is in every single artichoke, as only a few manufactories can do. This produces one of the best qualities for artichoke hearts that can be found in Italy. The outer leaves are precisely removed with a knife to get to the precious hearts, which are then further treated with gentle techniques and the best ingredients.

Italienische Trocknung Mini Artischocken Paestum Salerno von Di Bennardo

Quality and taste of artichoke hearts

Frequently asked questions about artichoke hearts

Artichokes are thistle-like vegetables known for their blue-violet flower heads and tender hearts. They offer a unique flavor with a balanced blend of sweetness, bitterness and a subtle nutty note.

Our organic certified artichoke hearts from Italy are characterized by their outstanding quality, based on careful selection of artichokes, perfect harvest time, sustainable cultivation and traditional craftsmanship. Only organic ingredients are used.

Our mini artichoke hearts are picked at the perfect ripening time in April and May in Salerno near Paestum. After harvesting, the organic artichokes are carefully processed by removing the outer leaves and carefully extracting the tender hearts. Later they are soaked in lemon water for a few hours, cooked, dried for a long time and packed in jars with skilled handwork.

They are naturally rich in vitamin A & C, vitamin E, various B vitamins and minerals such as calcium, phosphate, manganese and iron, which makes them a healthy and delicious addition to a balanced diet. They get 11 grams of fiber per 100 grams, promote fat burning and detoxify the liver with bitter substances.