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Avoir un cœur d’artichaut

To have the heart of an artichoke
Origin: France

This French expression is an evocative way to describe someone who is a hopeless romantic, or is fickle in love.

The tender heart of the artichoke is where all the bitter leaves of the vegetable are attached.

Someone with an “artichoke heart” easily gives away their “leaves” to each new person, and is prone to falling in love often.

This French saying originated in the late 19th century, and is a shortening of the original expression: “cœur d’artichaut, une feuille pour tout le monde (artichoke heart, a leaf for everyone).”



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Catherine de Medici is said to have made artichokes famous, starting in the mid-16th century.

At the age of 14, she introduced the vegetable to France, when she arrived from Florence to marry King Henry II.

Allegedly, the young queen loved eating them — scandalous, given the artichoke’s historical reputation as an aphrodisiac.

Since then, the artichoke has become a classic staple in French cuisine.

There is even a lovely, very simple dish featuring a single whole artichoke (of the Camus de Bretagne variety), served with a vinaigrette on the side. It can be eaten by itself as a main course.

The dish is made by steaming the artichoke until it’s tender and an outer leaf can be pulled off easily.

The end result is leaves that melt on the tongue and tastes like summer. Quite romantic indeed!

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