The cultivation of the famous red Tropean onion began mainly in Parghelia and Zambrone and then spread to Tropea and Capo Vaticano and Ricadi. The sweet taste, the fleshiness and the crunchy quality of the red Tropean onion make it one of the most delectable and widely requested products of this area. Every year, in August, the Festival of the Red Onion is held in Ricadi, in the main village. The Festival is promoted by the local Council, in agreement with the Local Tourist Board and the organising Committee which is renewed every year. The organizers try to improve what the Festival offers every year, and are rewarded as more and more visitors and tourists leave their Holiday lodgings to take part in the activities of the Festival, which aims at increasing the value of the typically rural component of the area of Tropea - Capo Vaticano. The Festival organisers propose a revival of the ancient peasant values: love of the land, love of animals, interest in the harvest, a revival of local cuisine and a taste for genuine traditional foods. Tropeas Red Onion deserves the Seal of Quality in order to avoid confusion and frauds, and in order to promote it, support the improvement of it and increase the productivity.
It is generally agreed that the Tropean onion has exceptional therapeutic qualities, confirmed in scrupulous laboratory tests. Pliny the Elder, the great Roman naturalist, in his Naturalis Historia lists thirty ailments which can be treated by onions, and points out that even dishes which contain the onions are, to a certain extent, curative as well as more nourishing and tasty. Italian experts have verified that the onion can alleviate colds and flu, and even cure them completely. It also helps to combat the ageing process. It contains vitamin C which has an anti-haemorrhagic effect, strengthens the cells, tonifies the veins and arteries and helps defend against infections. Also to be pointed out is the fact that the onion contains iron and keeps the number of red blood corpuscles in the blood at the right level. Furthermore, its effect as a sedative is such that it is conducive to sleep; it also acts as a diuretic and reduces high blood pressure. Recent studies on senility and on the prevention of cancer have underlined the importance in a daily diet of vitamin E, Selenium, Iodine, Zinc and Magnesium. In onions these elements are all present in varying quantities. Experts such as Kendal, Menom and Newal suggest its use in treating chronic rheumatism and consider it beneficial in the treatment of obesity. They have also proved that it can stimulate virility and has anti-sclerotic powers, thus having a beneficial effect on the heart and arteries. Eating these onions can be considered a valid help, therefore, in the fight against cardiovascular diseases and heart attacks. It is no coincidence that in Calabria, where people eat a large quantity of onions, the number of deaths from heart attacks is very low. The onions are used in salads, sauces, cooked in the oven, boiled, fried and, above all, eaten raw. With good reason, therefore, the onion can be defined as an excellent vegetable, to be included in ones daily diet for its therapeutic effects. There is no doubt that the red Tropean onion is one of the most interesting typical local products in the entire Italian agriculture.
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