In Southern Italy, the flower buds of the Cardoon are widely collected for various uses. Though the buds are edible, the stems are more commonly eaten after being braised in water or liqueur. Its celery-like stalks can be steamed or braised, and is thought to taste like an artichoke. Cardoons are also used as a vegetarian source of enzymes for the production of cheeses, resulting in a citrusy, herbal flavour paired best with full-bodied or fortified wines. More recent uses of Cardoon include cultivation for biodiesel production.

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