Italy’s ‘Cipolla Bianca di Margherita’ – a sweet, white onion produced along the Adriatic coast – was registered in the EU as a Protected Geographical Indication (PGI) on October 20.
According to the PGI application, the onion (Allium cepa L.) is a fresh product, noted for its succulent bulbs with a high sugar content. When harvested it must be sweet and juicy in the mouth and be tender and crisp in texture.
There are four different local ecotypes, based on the growing period: ‘Marzaiola’ or ‘Aprilatica’, ‘Maggiaiola’, ‘Giugniese’ and ‘Lugliatica’.
The production area for ‘Cipolla bianca di Margherita’ comprises the territories of the municipalities of Margherita di Savoia, Zapponeta and Manfredonia.
“Thanks to the specific genetic characteristics of the populations that have been selected and propagated over centuries by the local farmers and to the specific soil and climatic conditions, the ‘Cipolla bianca di Margherita’ has distinct characteristics,” the application said.
A study by the University of Foggia found that compared to other white onion cultivars grown outside the geographical area, the the most significant differences of ‘Cipolla bianca di Margherita’ onions are:
- a low level of dry matter and soluble solids, making the onion crunchier and more succulent,
- lack of sharpness,
- high quantities of reducing sugars, making them sweeter
- they are harvested earlier than in other growing areas.