What is barba di frate

Barba di Frate is also known as Monks Beard, Agretti, Roscano or Saltwort. It looks a little like chives and can be used in salads or as a vegetable. It has the crunch of samphire and a succulent, delicate, slightly acidic flavour, similar to spinach. It’s also rich in vitamins, minerals and fibre.

Barba di Frate is popular in Italy where it’s sold from February to April. It grows prolifically in the country’s Marche region because of the windy and cold winter conditions there, very similar to our Herefordshire climate. Barba di Frate is also widely used in traditional Jewish cooking.


our barba di frate

We are the sole producer of Barba di Frate in the UK. We have a longer growing season than in Italy so our Barba di Frate is available from April right through to October.

We grow our Barba di Frate to organic principles so it’s free from any chemicals and bursting with natural flavour. We tip pick our Barba di Frate by hand. This means there’s no waste and you have very little prep time in the kitchen.

We pick all our Barba to Frate to order, pack it in biodegradable and recyclable plastic and insulated bags, then send it straight to you by courier.   It will arrive ready to use and as fresh as the moment we picked it, giving it a very good shelf life.

We send UK wide. Orders taken by the end of the day on Tuesday will be picked, packed and dispatched for delivery on Thursday/Friday. This means you’ll have your Barba di Frate for your weekend service. However, please understand we dispatch your Barba di Frate in good faith but have no control over its delivery once your order has left our premises.


Our customers include:

  • Franco Taruschio, Founder of the renowned restaurant The Walnut Tree and Ambassador for Italian food in the UK

  • Stephen Terry, Head Chef at the award-winning Hardwick restaurant in Abergavenny

  • Shaun Hill, head chef at Michelin-starred restaurant The Walnut Tree and winner of the Lifetime Achievement OFM award

  • Chris Harrod, head chef at Michelin-starred restaurant The Whitebrook

  • Matt Tebbutt, star of Saturday Kitchen, formerly at the Foxhunter Inn, Abergavenny

  • Lindy Wildsmith, food writer and author

  • The Angel Hotel, Abergavenny, winners of the AA Wales Hotel of the Year award

cooking with barba di frate

Barba di Frate is delicious and versatile. You can use it raw or steam it. When cooked it has a bright emerald green hue and looks more like a seaweed spaghetti than a kitchen garden plant. 

Barba di Frate is lovely in salads with just a squeeze of lemon juice and a little extra virgin olive oil. Or you can simply toss it in garlic and melted butter or olive oil in a hot frying pan and serve it as a vegetable. For extra flavour add fine chili flakes, chopped charcuterie, sundried tomatoes, anchovies, toasted pine nuts or grated cheese.

Barba di Frate is delicious served for breakfast as a nest for poached egg or stirred into creamy scrambled egg.  And you can add it to savoury tarts and frittatas, pasta dishes, gnocchi, risottos or blitz it to make pesto.

To prepare it, rinse in cold water and drain.

To cook your Barba di Frate, steam it lightly for a couple of minutes or toss it in melted butter or olive oil in a hot frying pan.


Read more about Barba di frate -

Jamie Oliver - championing Barba di frate

The Guardian - "salty deliciousness with a hint of bitterness"

Stephen Terry‏ @_StephenTerry_  “We are lucky enough to have Amanda’s Barba di frate on our doorstep. And now you’ll be able to get it too !! Happy days !!”

Valentina Harris - “I really think Barba di Frate has great potential to be a "new vegetable "“