According to legend, the artichoke was created when the smitten Greek god Zeus turned his object of affection into a thistle after being rejected.
Artichokes are a versatile food, and although some would consider them a vegetable, they are actually a variety of thistle. They are known in their natural form as cardoon, and their scientific classification is Cynara cardunculus. Native to the region, which is primarily why they play such a major part in their cuisine. There are more than 100 varieties of artichokes. This vegetable grows to 1.4–2 m tall, with arching, deeply lobed, silvery, glaucous-green leaves.
Artichokes are available in most markets with the peak months being March, April, and May.