I’ve been checking daily at my corner supermarket, running around town knocking on fruit shop doors, and visiting the twice-a-week, open-air market in my fair city of Vicenza in search of only one thing: an orange, but not just any orange.
I’m in pursuit of one of Italy’s great winter blessings: l’Arancia Rossa di Sicilia, or the Blood Orange of Sicily, the most colorful of oranges that I just can’t wait to get my hands on and mouth around.
The revered l’Arancia Rossa di Sicilia, with its deep red flesh and a rind that has a bright blush, comes in three varieties: Moro, Sanguinello and Tarocco. Take your pick, they’re all juicy and delicious and come with the European Union’s stamp of approval: Indicazionze Geografica Protetta (Protected Geographical Indication).
Blood oranges of varying types are also grown in Spain, Texas, California, China and Australia, but the leader of the pack comes from the rich earth found on the eastern side of the island of Sicily in the provinces of Catania, Enna, Ragusa and Siracusa.
The blood orange get’s its deep red pigment from anthocyanin, a great antioxidant. It’s loaded with vitamin C along with calcium, folate and thiamine. And, one medium size blood orange packs 28% of the recommended daily intake of dietary fiber.