A typical salad from the north of France, endive (or chicon, as it is called there) is a well-known vegetable. Whether as a starter, braised, in a gratin, or combined with ham and béchamel sauce, endive is known to everyone for its legendary bitterness. Everyone has his or her own way of mitigating this particular taste. From the " Asteraceae " family, it is a cousin of coffee chicory. There are many varieties such as " Alliance ", " Baccara ", " Goldwin " or " Ecrine ".
Endive is not an easy plant to plant. It must be sown in May in the garden, after which its roots must be dug up and placed in a completely dark place. This step, called " forcing ", forces the plant to stretch upwards, while the lack of light gives it its characteristic white leaves. Aqueous solutions now replace the natural soil in large producers and facilitate the growth.
With industrial techniques, chicon is now available all year round. Nevertheless, its preferred period is from October to April in the vegetable garden calendar. Apart from the particular environment in which this vegetable will grow, it requires very little maintenance. All it needs is total darkness and time.