Like Marmite, fennel is something that you either love or hate. Its strong aniseed flavour leaves no room for the middle ground. From the same family as the herb and seed of the same name, it's also known as Florence fennel, finocchio, or sweet fennel, is very popular in Italian cookery, and has a bulb-like shape that looks a little like a heavy-bottomed celery.
When eaten raw, the texture is crisp and the flavour is quite assertive. Cooked, it's softer and more mellow.