The red onion of Cannara

braids of Cannara onions hanging from metal hooks. From left to right, there are three varieties of onions: borettana, red and golden.

Umbria is a region attracting many visitors for its beautiful historical places and the multitude of cultural events. However, what is surprising is the variety and quality of food and wine products of this territory. One of the specialties of the region is the red onion of Cannara.

The cultivation of red onions in Cannara dates back to the Middle Ages, as mentioned in many historical reports about this agricultural activity. In fact, the type of soil in this area (clay soil, rich in water and potassium) has always been particularly suitable for the growth of the onion bulb. The city of Cannara owes its name to reeds, aquatic plants that characterize marshy lands, typical of the central part of Umbria crossed by the Topino River.

Varieties and uses of the onion of Cannara

The red onion is the most famous variety, but it is not the only one cultivated in this territory: there are also the golden and the borettana varieties. Although it is a simple product, its culinary use gives a particular taste to each dish. The red variety is sweet, has a delicate flavor and is easily digestible; for this reason, in local dishes, raw red onion is used for salads and other side dishes. The golden variety is mainly used for sauces, while the borettana is very tasty if cooked in the oven.

Despite different varieties, the red onion is the most popular one. Since 1981, a festival held annually in September in the town of Cannara celebrates this product.

In recent years, the red onion of Cannara has won the title of Slow Food, awarded to those food products that are genuine, healthy and cultivated with respect for the producer and the environment. In addition, the red onion has received the Prodotto Agroalimentare Tradizionale PAT (Traditional Agricultural Product) recognition from the Ministry of Agricultural, Food and Forestry Policies. For this reason, this product has been added to the list of Italian excellent food products, together with the most widely known red onion of Tropea.

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