Chicory is a close relative of witloof chicory or Belgian endive. It was discovered accidentally at the end of the 19th century by Belgian farmers, who found that when grown in dark it develops strong, pale shoots chicory. Today Belgium is still the main source of quality chicory and Brussels witloof.
It is grown under-ground or under black polythene so that it stays tender and pale.
Chicory has a bittersweet flavor that is liked by everyone; it is also rich in vitamins and minerals. In addition, it is considered good for diabetic and people suffering from rheumatism. Radicchio is the Italian name given to the red variety of this vegetable.
When buying make sure that it is tightly closed and pale.
You can keep it for about 4-5 days in the vegetable compartment of the refrigerator, wrapped in damp paper. If kept out too long the leaves turn light green and the bitter taste become stronger.