The etiquette rules on how to serve and eat chicory. Tips to be the ideal host or the perfect guest and avoid any embarrassment.

What chicory etiquette is

Chicory etiquette is the set of rules to properly serve and eat chicory. Such rules help avoid behaviors that can disrespect your hosts or guests, or make you look unpolite.

If you are hosting, follow the etiquette to serve chicory to your guests appropriately.

As a guest, respect the etiquette rules to properly eat chicory at the dining table and avoid offending your hosts or embarrassing yourself.

how to serve and eat chicory

What you should know about chicory

Chicory is a type of leafy vegetable that belongs to the dandelion family. It is often used in salads and as a coffee substitute.

Chicory leaves are long and narrow, with a slightly bitter taste. They are usually light green in color and have a slightly crunchy texture.

Etiquette rules to serve and eat chicory

1) How to store chicory

It is best to store chicory at a temperature between 32 and 36°F (0-3°C). Store it in the pantry for up to 5 days, in the fridge for up to 2 weeks, and in the freezer for up to 8 months. To store chicory, wrap it in damp paper towels and place it in a plastic bag with some air holes.

Store sliced or cooked chicory in the fridge for up to 3 days in an airtight container.

2) How to clean chicory

To clean the chicory, rinse it under cold water and dry it with a paper towel. There are no significant risks associated with cleaning chicory.

Chicory turns bad when it starts to wilt or turn brown. It may also have a strong, unpleasant smell.

3) How to prepare & cook chicory

Chicory can be eaten raw or cooked. To prepare chicory for cooking, remove the tough outer leaves and cut them into smaller pieces. Common ways to cook chicory include roasting, grilling, sautéing, or braising. You can use a knife or kitchen shears to cut chicory, and a baking sheet or frying pan to cook it.

Popular dishes with chicory include salads, soups, stews, and risotto.

Chicory is great in salads and sandwiches. You can also juice it, blend it into smoothies, or use it to make jam or preserves. Chicory is suitable for vegan, keto, and paleo diets.

4) How to serve & present chicory

Chicory is appropriate for both formal and informal meals. You can serve it as a side dish, main course, or appetizer. Chicory is also suitable for breakfast, brunch, or as a snack.

It is best to serve chicory at room temperature or slightly chilled. You can present it in a salad bowl or on a plate. Use a fork or salad tongs to serve chicory.

Chicory goes well with a variety of seasonings, including salt, pepper, garlic, and lemon juice. It also pairs well with olive oil, vinegar, and mustard.

5) Food and wine to pair chicory with

Chicory pairs well with a variety of vegetables and fruits, including radicchio, endive, pear, apple, and citrus fruits. It does not pair well with strong-flavored vegetables like broccoli and cabbage.

Chicory goes well with cheese and dairy, especially blue cheese and goat cheese. It can also be used in creamy sauces. It does not pair well with very strong cheeses like aged cheddar.

Chicory goes well with meat, especially pork, and chicken. It can also pair with fish, especially oily fish like salmon and mackerel. It does not pair well with very strong-flavored fish like tuna.

Chicory pairs well with light-bodied red wines like Pinot Noir and Beaujolais. It also goes well with white wines like Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc. It can pair well with sparkling wines, rosé wines, beer, and spirits like gin and vodka.

6) How to eat chicory

You can eat chicory with a fork or spoon. It is polite to eat chicory with utensils rather than with your fingers. The whole chicory is edible.

Chicory etiquette: the worst mistakes

The Rude Index identifies and ranks negative behaviors. 

A high score (8-10) means that the behavior has the potential to trigger a conflict with others. A medium score (4-7) means that the behavior risks making you look inelegant and unsophisticated. Read more about the Rude Index and its methodology here.  

Avoid the most common chicory etiquette mistakes:

  • 8/10. Not properly cleaning the chicory before serving
  • 6/10. Serving chicory under or overcooked.
  • 6/10. Using the wrong utensils to eat chicory.
  • 4/10. Serving chicory in a way that does not complement its flavor.

Additional information for properly serving chicory

How many calories per serving?

Counting calories is important to stay healthy and correctly plan a menu.

Chicory contains approximately 10 calories per serving (1 cup) and 17 calories per 100 grams. The calorie content of a single chicory will depend on its size and weight.

How to buy the best chicory

A crucial factor in chicory etiquette is serving your guests the best product possible.

Season and availability 

Chicory is available all year round, but the best season to buy it is during the winter months when it is in peak season.

Choose the best

Chicory is available in commerce in various forms, including fresh, canned, dried, and frozen.

The most popular varieties of chicory in commerce are Belgian endive, curly endive (frisée), and radicchio. Belgian endive is often considered the most prized due to its delicate flavor and unique shape.

When buying chicory, look for heads that are firm, with crisp leaves that are tightly packed. Avoid heads that are wilted or have yellowed leaves, as this may indicate that they are past their prime. Additionally, choose heads that are evenly sized to ensure even cooking.

Alternatives to chicory

Common chicory alternatives include lettuce, kale, spinach, and other leafy greens. These can be used in salads or as a bed for other dishes, similar to how chicory is used.