Savoy cabbage (Brassica oleracea var. sabauda L.) is the prettiest member of the cabbage species (Brassica oleracea).
It’s also known as choux de savoie (France), cavolo verza (Italian), and Milan cabbage and Lombardy cabbage (English).
Savoy is a loose-headed cabbage with crepe-like, crinkled, frilly leaves and a sweet, earthy flavor.
We enjoy it much more than a standard head of white cabbage—which is the industry name for what consumers call green cabbage.
It’s not as hard as conventional white/green and red cabbage. The leaves are still crunchy, but more tender tender.
As is common with agricultural products, there are many different varieties of Savoy cabbage, which is grown worldwide.
Savoy King is the most popular variety with U.S. growers, and favored for its versatility whether raw or cooked [source].
It is considered to be the most versatile of all cabbages, and can be substituted for both western hard-heading cabbages and Chinese loose-heading varieties (like Napa cabbage).
A head of cabbage will keep 1-2 weeks in the fridge, when loosely wrapped in plastic and stored in the crisper drawer.
In addition to serving raw in salads and slaws, Savoy cabbage can be baked, boiled, braised, grilled, roasted, steamed and stir-fried.
Simply cooked as a side dish (or on a vegetable plate), tossed with butter with black pepper, is nice enough.
But you can build on it by adding cherry tomatoes, grated cheese, mushrooms, peas, whatever. Here are other ways to enjoy Savoy cabbage.
Cabbage was most likely domesticated somewhere in Europe before 1000 B.C.E., although Savoys weren’t bred and cultivated until the 16th century C.E.
The first known documentation of this crinkly cabbage is in the 1500s, in a region that bordered France, Italy, and Switzerland that was then ruled by the Italian House of Savoy.
The historical territory was shared among the modern countries of France, Italy and Switzerland.
The elegant-looking cabbage was embraced in Savoy; and wherever it traveled since.