The first evidence of watermelon growing in the plains of Reggio Emilia can be traced back in the sixteenth century. In the early twentieth century, the popularity and consumption of this round, juicy fruit increased, and the first wooden huts selling sliced watermelon began to crop up. In the 1960s, Reggio Emilia's watermelon trade extended to the Romagna and Liguria's seaside, to quench the thirst of the many beach-goers and bathers.
Today, this particular watermelon is cultivated in several areas in the Reggio Emilia province, including Gualtieri, Novellara, Santa Vittoria, Poviglio, Cadelbosco di Sopra, Rio Saliceto and Ca’ de’ Frati, and comes in round, oval and long varieties. Every year in July, Novellara holds a festival in its name, Anguria Blues.
One characteristic that all the different varieties have in common is the fruit's high sugar content. But don’t let this put you off, though, as the percentage of sugar in the Reggio Emilia watermelon is much lower than in other kinds of fruit.
Watermelon is best eaten in slices, perhaps in the searing heat of a summer’s evening. For a little more experimental way of tasting it, try it in chunks with chocolate chips.