At the 'Frischezentrum' (Fresh centre) in Frankfurt, Italian specialities could be admired in week 45. One of the eye-catchers was the Cipolla Rossa di Tropea: a sweet, red onion from Tropea, Southern Italy. These were bundled together with foliage into 20-25 pieces each, weighing in at 4-5 kg per bundle, and were delivered in boxes each containing 300 kg. 

The Italian onion, Cipolla Rossa di Tropea Calabria, is a special product. In 2008 the onion received a stamp from the EU which gave the onion a geographically protected status. This meant that, just as Cognac can only come from Cognac and Gouda cheese can only come from Gouda, the onion could only be grown along the Tyrrhenian sea between Capo Vaticano and Vibo Valentia. The onion is sweet, which is partly a characteristic of the species, but the sweetness is strengthened by the specific sand composition of the soil. The real "Cipolla Rossa di Tropea Calabria" is still traditional, which means completely hand made. 



Left: Cipolla Rossa di Tropea Calabria. Right: Nespole di Veneto

An even rarer Italian speciality is supplied in heavy wooden crates (10kg) from Veneto called 'Nespole'. The 'Nespole' is a light to dark brown medlar that rarely appears on the Central European market. These medlars are not comparable to the much more widely known yellow/orange medlars, which are called Eriobotrya japonica and are often imported from Turkey. This product is only edible when it is 'overripe', or it tastes bitter, pungent and sour. However, when the first frost is over, the product becomes sweeter and can then be consumed. 



http://www.agf.nl/nieuws/2014/1113/marktbericht2.pdf - click on this link for lots of other details about the Nespole and the Cipolla Rossa di Tropea. 


Source: BLE