cavolo nero

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noun ca·vo·lo ne·ro \ ˈkä-və-(ˌ)lō-ˈner-(ˌ)ō \
variants: or less commonly cavalo nero

Definition of cavolo nero

: tuscan kale
  • Chefs and savvy travelers have long revered the bumpy, palm-shaped leaves for their deep flavor and color. Now, cavolo nero, a winter vegetable in Tuscany, is grown here year-round.
  • Los Angeles Times13 Dec. 1998
  • Cultivated in Tuscany starting in the 18th century (and perhaps even earlier), cavolo nero is prized for its bountiful growth through the lean winter months.
  • —Indrani SenSaveurNovember 2007

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Origin and Etymology of cavolo nero

borrowed from Italian, literally, “black cabbage”. Though Italian cavolo is conventionally translated “cabbage,” the word, with a dependent modifier, actually covers most edible varieties of Brassica oleracea. Cavolo, going back to Late Latin caulus (Latin caulis “stalk of a plant, cabbage”) is apparently dependent on southern dialect forms with preservation of the diphthong and an interposed consonant; the regular central Italian development is represented by Umbrian dialect còlo (see Gerhard Rolhlfs, Grammatica storica della lingua italiana e dei suoi dialetti: Fonetica [Turin: Einaudi, 1966], p. 64)


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