Chicon is the name given to a type of endive found in the north of France.Bitter-tasting and white with yellowedges, this type of chicory can be eaten raw or cooked, and will stay fresh for many days if kept in the vegetable compartment of the refrigerator. This winter vegetable can be eaten in a salad, starter, soup, quiche, gratin with ham in béchamel sauce, or braised with meat.
The chicon was discovered by chance in the middle of the 19th century by a Belgian peasant who had buried some wild endive plants at the back of his dark cellar. From these plants developed a vegetable that was completely unknown until that point: the endive.
This vegetable is very useful to people who want to lose weight, as it is one of the lowest calorie foods. High in fibre, it is easily digested and has high levels of vitamin C and potassium.
Today, Nord-Pas-de-Calais accounts for 83% of French chicon production, and 50% of the world's production. There is a festival in its honour every year at the end ofFebruary, at Haisnes, in Pas-de-Calais.