Beetroot is common as muck in Australia. A tin of beetroot in your cupboard pretty well guarantees you don't subscribe to Gourmet Traveller. When I was a child and Australia was still bereft of a decent cuisine, (that is before the Italians and Asians began to arrive in numbers) a salad was a limp lettuce leaf, a chunk of tomato and a slice of tinned beetroot sans olive oil. You could only buy that at the chemist! The beetroot used to bleed across the plate like a murder had been committed - and it had - it was the death of good taste.
There is only one exception, even today, there is no such thing as a Great Hamburger without a slice of pickled beetroot.
Of course you can't buy pickled beetroot in Tuscany and I was hanging out, so HWEM planted a small crop, then a few days ago when I was dreaming about the wonderful painting I was about to begin, he entered the kitchen, trekking his usual trail of compost and old chicken poo, dumped a pile of beetroot on the sink and gave me a tender look that I knew immediately meant 'Start pickling woman!'