Famous for the forced, blanched heads or ‘chicons’ that are loved by gourmets Chicory 'Brussels Witloof' is the traditional finely-textured variety used for forcing. It produces tightly packed high-quality leaves and is one of the finest tasting winter vegetables.
Witloof (meaning 'white leaf' in Flemish) has a delicious, tangy, unique flavour, very easy to grow, it needs to be blanched to obtain the characteristic pale yellow, but can be cut young for use without blanching.
Raw, cooked, baked, roasted, caramelised, stewed, sweet or savory, there are endless ways to enjoy Witloof chicory. It is served in most of central Europe as a hot dish, but also used occasionally in a salad. Use it raw for dipping, filling or chopped in salads. It can also be cooked, baked, roasted, caramelized, stewed, sweet or savory.
Chicory describes a group of hardy annual or biennial cultivated plants developed from a common wild plant of Europe, western Asia, and Africa. Wild forms of endive grow in the same area as chicory, but extends farther to the east to India and beyond, including Siberia. The cultivated varieties are root chicory (Cichorium var. sativum) and salad chicory (Cichorium var. foliosum).
Chicory was introduced to England, Germany, Holland, and France in the 13th century. The French used it primarily for medicinal purposes to "comfort the weake and feeble stomack and to help gouty limbs and sore eyes".