I would like to know what the English name is for the Italian word fondo di carciofo as I was not able to find it on the Internet. Basically, carciofo means artichoke and fondo means the bottom part (not the heart which in Italian is cuore, and not the stalk which in Italian is manico, although sometimes the stalk is included with the bottom part and sold together and such combination is very delicious indeed).

So, here is a picture of a bunch of fondi di carciofo from the Internet:

enter image description here

Here is the closest picture I could find on the Internet for the artichoke bottoms with stem, although the stem has been cut away from the artichoke bottoms. Too bad I could not find a picture with both in one piece as in Italy they can often be purchased in such way; next time I go to the market I will take a picture and post it.

enter image description here

Because of the comments that were posted below, I have included a picture of what a cuore di carciofo is in Italy (word-by-word translation: artichoke heart). Basically, it's the inner part of the artichoke with the outer leaves removed. Once cooked, unlike the outer leaves, which cannot be fully eaten as they would not be digested properly, the inner part of the artichoke can be eaten in its entirety once boiled. Here is a picture of cuori di carciofo:

enter image description here

On the other hand, here is the outer part of the artichoke looks like. Italian refer to this as carciofo, but often this is used as a synonym for the artichoke leaves (more commonly known as foglie di carciofo). Italians buy these in the supermarket or at the market and eat the bottom part of all of the outer leaves of the artichoke by scraping them against the bottom teeth once cooked, often dipping them in a little bit of mustard to give them some taste:

enter image description here

And here is a picture of what carciofini (literal translation: little artichokes) are. There are essentially the same as the cuori di carciofo (artichoke hearts), except that this version is sold in a glass jar with olive oil used to preserve them over a long period of time, and can be found in the supermarket in Italy:

enter image description here

That pretty much sums up the whole story about artichokes in Italy.

Anyways, back to my original question:

What's the best/proper way to translate fondi di carciofi into English?


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    You say that "heart" isn't right, but that's what that looks like to me, hearts that have been cleaned of the choke. What is sold as artichoke heart here in the US looks like this but real artichoke hearts look like this which is the heart of a full sized artichoke, cooked and cleaned. – Jolenealaska Jan 14 '15 at 19:02
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    @Jolenealaska I suspect that may be the answer, i.e. that "artichoke heart" is unfortunately a bit ambiguous in English. – Cascabel Jan 14 '15 at 19:16
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    We sell things as artichoke hearts, but they are are really just babies with the outer leaves removed, and the tips chopped off, like this. I hate say it, but I don't think you can find full sized artichoke hearts in the US except by cleaning full size artichokes. – Jolenealaska Jan 14 '15 at 19:25
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    @JohnSonderson It seems to be a case of false friends, as they are known in translation: the English term for the base turns out to be indeed artichoke heart even though it's not the same part as cuore in Italian. See Jolene's answer, and the McGee reference diagram I added to it. – rumtscho Jan 14 '15 at 21:23
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    John Peterson (James Beard winning cookbook author) has a post on 'artichoke bottoms' in which he mentions "To prepare artichoke bottoms (the hearts are virtually the same) ..." but never makes the distinction between the two. – Joe Jan 14 '15 at 22:41

(American English speaker here) To me, the picture of "fondo di carciofo" is a picture of artichoke hearts.

What you seem to call a heart, I call a baby with the outer leaves removed. Like this:


I don't think of that as a heart, I've always considered that a kind if a cheater thing since that's what you can buy frozen or marinated as "hearts". There is no, or very little, inedible choke:


That's because the choke develops as the artichoke matures.

So if I asked for "baby artichokes", I would expect to get what is pictured above.

If I want what I think of as "heart", I would eschew packages labeled "artichoke heart", because I know that what they would actually contain (in the US) is trimmed baby artichokes.

I LOVE artichoke hearts, I try to get plenty of stem too. I'm talking about the bottom portion of the mature artichoke, after you pick off the leaves and scrape off the choke.



Which just has a small part of the choke removed.

On Food and Cooking supports this usage of "heart":

diagram of artichoke

So, I guess "the bottom part of a mature globe artichoke, the base, what some people consider the heart and others call the bottom or even the crown, where the stem attaches" would be a way to say it in English and not be misunderstood. If, in fact, I am understanding the question.

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    +1. I doubted that due to language issues, but I looked up in McGee's On Food And Cooking and he clearly says that the base is the heart. So, together with the current labeling, it seems that only this construct won't be misunderstood :( Is it OK if I upload his diagram as an edit to your answer? And sorry that I doubted your word but believe McGee, but he literally wrote the book on food. – rumtscho Jan 14 '15 at 21:10
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    For what it's worth, my family always called the base, after you pick off the choke, the heart. And it was confusing to me as a kid that they had the baby things with leaves on them in cans and called them hearts too. Maybe "artichoke bottom" would be shorter but still enough to be universally understood? I see some usage around on the internet, and it's roughly the translation of the OP's term. – Cascabel Jan 14 '15 at 21:12
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    I mentally translated "fondi" as "base", and artichoke base seems like a fair term since "heart" is surprisingly ambiguous. – logophobe Jan 14 '15 at 22:01
  • Indeed, that also seems to do, as the results on this site demonstrate. I've updated my question accordingly. Thanks! – John Sonderson Jan 14 '15 at 23:50

I've seen the convex bottoms sold as "artichoke crowns" (separated from any tiny leaves or stem) on occasion but Alibaba sometimes lists them as "artichoke bottoms".

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    I've seen them canned in stores in the US with the name "artichoke bottom" – Random832 Jan 26 '15 at 18:04

Thank you all for your responses. What I was able to conclude is that although the Italian word cuore translates into the English word heart, and while in Italian cuore di carciofo always refers to the inner leaves of an artichoke, the word artichoke heart seems to be used synonymously with artichoke bottom, artichoke crown, and artichoke base in some places, while being the equivalent of the artichoke heart translation from Italian in some other places where it still refers to the inner leaves.

The following images from the Internet make the aforementioned differences in word usage obvious:

enter image description here

enter image description here

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Needless to say, despite having used these images for illustrative purposes to show how these words are being used around the net, I couldn't resist making the statement that compared to fresh ones, packaged and canned artichokes are really gross, both as far as taste is concerned as well as when we consider health issues (all those added preservatives), and this is especially true of the canned ones which I would never ever buy and taste like tin!

The word baby artichoke can be somewhat misleading, because while this seems to refer to the inner portion of the globe artichoke in some contexts, it can also be used to refer to some varieties of artichokes where the globe artichoke itself is small when compared to the globe artichoke of artichokes of other varieties which have bigger globes.

Most Italians would purchase and consume artichokes fresh, although due to their popularity these are also available marinated and sometimes even grilled and then preserved in glass containers alongside olive oil and possibly other ingredients (the following picture was taken in an Italian supermarket and shows how several brands are normally available for consumption, each having a slightly different taste and preparation):

enter image description here

Although reasonably good tasting, this is however considered a somewhat lazy option when compared to fresh artichokes, which despite being a much healthier option are also cheaper to purchase. Here are the artichoke pictures from an Italian market as promised: as you can see, in Italy it is possible to purchase the various part of an artichoke separately (sorry that my camera battery was low while taking these pictures, which is the reason for the lines appearing therein):

  1. This picture illustrates how at a market stand you can purchase both (1) the inner part of the artichoke / artichoke baby / artichoke heart, which for the variety of artichokes in the pictures can be quite large (see top), the artichoke bottom / artichoke heart with the stem attached (see bottom right), as well as the individual artichoke bottoms (see bottom left):

    enter image description here

  2. This picture, on the other hand, shows how the top part of the artichoke could also be purchaed as a whole from the same place. I like this purplish, blackish, large variety of artichokes (which is the same variety the parts in the picture above are taken from), above the white asparagus. Notice the sheer size of these artichokes (and of these asparagus)!!!

    enter image description here

Due to their size, the artichokes as in the picture above are known in Italy as mamme di carciofo (literal translation: artichoke mothers). The artichokes below are of a similar kind and were found at an Italian supermarket (sold in bunches of 4):

enter image description here


  • 1
    You're just trying to make us jealous at this point. Holy cow. Beautiful produce. – Preston Feb 13 '15 at 23:44

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