No guts, no glory for Sicilian round eggplant
Southern Seed's Gloria F1 eggplant variety has gained a consumer preference at home in Italy, and now the crop is set for new European growing regions.
Speaking with www.freshfruitportal.com during Fruit Logistica in Berlin earlier this month, the company's Giuseppe Dezio said this variety of aubergine, which the vegetable is known as in Europe, was prized in the domestic market for its color, shining skin and taste.
"Gloria F1 is a flagship of our catalogue - it's a purple and round aubergine, and it’s the leader in the Italian market for this range," Dezio said.
"In the Italy there are a lot of traditional dishes with aubergine, and Gloria is different to other kinds. The flesh is very soft and it’s not bitter like other aubergines.
"The consumer I think will choose this product for the taste, and the grower will choose it for the price because generally Gloria has a little bit of a higher price," he said, clarifying that while yields were not as high as traditional eggplants, the price premium was worth it."
He said the main production period was wintertime in southern Europe.
"And the most important region for the production is Sicily, starting from the province of Syracuse and it goes all the way to the province of Palermo, so it covers a big area," he said.
"In Europe it's not usual to grow this kind of eggplant. Around 90% is grown in Sicily and the other 10% is in the rest of Italy."
But Dezio hoped that was about to change, with interest in the product from France, England and Norway.
"In the last year we've seen this product attract a lot of people from other countries. It's very interesting for the taste and its peculiar shape."