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Cauliflower comes into its own

Described by Arab botanists and known to the Romans, the cauliflower originally came from Cyprus. It was introduced to France from Italy in the middle of the 16th century, and has been grown and eaten across Europe since the 1500s. However, it was not planted in this country until a little prior to 1900.

Cauliflower, actually a flower that hasn’t developed, is a member of the cabbage family and closely resembles broccoli. Despite its name, which literally means cabbage flower, it is not the flower of the cabbage. Cauliflower is considerably younger than cabbage. With such a humble status in the food world of today, it’s hard to believe it was once the rage at the court of Louis XIV and served in rich and elegant dishes there as well as in Brittany.

Ninety percent of cauliflower in markets is the familiar pure white type because the protective leaves grow around the head. The leaves shield the head from the sun, preventing the formation of chlorophyll and keeping the heads...

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