Chard is an indigenous vegetable that is mainly found in La Ribera, but also in a large part of the Central Zone. It was grown by the Romans, who regarded it as a luxury product
and kept it for the upper classes. Despite the fact that it is very popular in Europe, it is not widely eaten as it is very time-consuming to clean and prepare. In Navarre, however, it is frequently served both in the home and in restaurants.
This robust plant with thick, fibrous upright stems is at its best when there are few hollow outer leaves and a lot of white leaves without spikes forming the inner heart. It is primarily a winter
vegetable, although it is strongly affected by frost and so depends very heavily on the climate.
Present-day production methods have barely changed from the past; it is covered when it sprouts, either with earth or sacks, to protect it from the sunlight. It has an intense flavour with a slight bitterness
and is very rich in minerals. It can be used either as a side dish or as a dish on its own, the most common way of serving it being with ham, garlic and olive oil.
Did you know that...?
In Navarra there are a number of types of Swiss chard: the one from Peralta (green and large in size), the red of Corella (smaller than the previous one) and the prickly Swiss chard (with wide stalks and large leaves).
In Navarra there are different types of chard: from Peralta (green, big), from Corella (smaller) and the 'spiky' chard (wide bunch with large leaves).