Yesterday evening, at my Italian class, I told my teacher about Angelo giving me some artichoke plants, and she told me how the Italians eat them. She says you have to hold it in one hand throughout, and not touch the heart, because that will make it bitter. You peel off the "scales" and dip them in olive oil and eat them raw! Then the heart, and then the stem! She said the stem is very sweet.
I've only ever had tinned artichoke hearts. The first time I ate artichokes was during my first aeroplane flight, when I was flying Air France back to Nice for my second term there, when I was at University studying French. I remember being amazed at the luxury of being given artichokes for my in-flight meal.