The cardoon is a white vegetable from southern Europe, it is a member of the thistle family, as is the globe artichoke. It resembles a large coarse head of celery and is similar to fennel, and stalks are blanched in the same way that celery is. The stalks are flat, long and wide, with notched sides and a suede-like finish. They should be grated and peeled, in the same way as celery, and it is cooked in the same way. In many parts of Europe they are likely to be served with ham, in a white sauce, or braised. They certainly benefit from long, slow cooking. Traditionally in the UK, sacking was placed around the stems to blanch them. The covering was then stripped off leaving the pith which was added to stews.