Oddly enough, the world of condiments has a lot of similarities to high school. Ketchup is the jock; always around, getting into the middle of everything but typically doesn’t have a lot of depth or finesse. Mustards are the popular cheerleaders; adding a unique spin but often are overpowering and dominate anything they come in contact with. Mayonnaise is the Teacher’s Pet; subtle, a little bland and needs validation from others. And finally, Giardiniera, definitely a feisty, sassy Rebel; doesn’t care what others think, bringing their own spice and flavor to everything.
What is giardiniera?
The easiest answer is simply pickled vegetables. Having said that, there is nothing simple about good giardiniera. Pronounced “jar-din-air-ah”, this iconic Chicago condiment traces its root back to Italy. It’s pretty safe to say it arrived with the wave of Italian immigrants in the late 1800s, who settled in Chicago.
Fresh vegetables, like carrots, cauliflower, celery, and peppers, both mild and spicy varieties, are pickled in vinegar to give it all a nice twang while still keeping a delicious crunch. After that, the pickled veggies are packed in jars with good olive oil to marinate and develop even more flavor. We make two versions, mild and spicy, and trust us, our spicy version packs a wallop!