The white gold of Italian rices

Risotto all'OrtolanaWhite, pearly in the middle, scented, and tasty. Among the many varieties of rice which are produced in Italy, the IGP Nano Vialone Veronese rice, typical of Verona, is characterized by mid-size and roundish grains. The success of this rice is due to its capability of releasing almost completely the big quantity of starch it contains, thus remaining compact even during a prolonged cooking and conferring an intense, but persisting and very delicate aroma. The creaming that it is possible to obtain with this rice is excellent and delicate. Thanks to its flavour, aroma, and versatility, this grain is a refined base ingredient.

For people who live or was born in Veneto, this rice is a so special product that the typical regional way of cooking it results to be unique and is called ‘all’onda (literally: wavy)’: it is cooked in very little liquid, so that the grain can absorb the flavour of the other ingredients. This product arrives to the consumer after a very simple working process. The grains of rough rice are freed of their outer involucres and then whitened by means of scraping only. The modern technology simplifies and improves man’s work, but the product arrives on gourmets’ table without receiving either chemical interventions or manipulations.

A natural habitat

The IGP Nano Vialone Veronese rice is reserved for a rice exclusively obtained from cultivations of the ‘japonica vialone nano’ species, that was got in 1937 in the Stazione Sperimentale di Risicoltura of Vercelli, by hybridizing ‘Vialone’ and ‘Nano’ varieties, and then finding its natural habitat in the lands rich in slime and sand in the province of Verona. This land extends around Isola della Scala, a big agricultural municipality in the province of Verona, in the ‘green heart’ of Veneto, crossed by water and rich in springs which, during the 155 day cycle of rice, flood the agricultural lands. This production characterizes the view of these municipalities, associated in the Consortium.  

All this confers to the landscape of the so called ‘bassa Veronese’ - the name of this land which slopes down the hills rich in vineyards to the plains with rice-fields - a melancholy celebrated by both poets and painters, which contrasts with the intense human activity in the agricultural domain.

Excellent rice, worth being exported  

«More than 15% export». With these words Gabriele Ferron, chef and owner of the rice mill ‘Ferron’ at Isola della Scala, talked about his experience and entrepreneurial ability. «We own an ancient rice mill, which was born in 1650. Today, after 25 years, our Nano Vialone Veronese IGP rice is well-known, appreciated, and exported in Japan, China, Australia, USA, New Zealand, and Canada». Gabriele Ferron exports excellent rice for chefs, restaurants, and gourmets all over the world. Besides pride expressed by the main producer of this variety of rice, some numbers describe the success of this product. Every year about 450 tons of Nano Vialone Veronese IGP rice are produced. With its 1% of the whole Italian production, that invoices about 1 billion euros per year, this rice managed in remaining at the top of international approval, with an unparalleled export in comparison with other rices, thanks to its rigorous and scrupulous certification.

It is sold in 1, 2, or 5 kilo packaging and the IGP denomination guarantees that all the rice has been produced only by means of mechanical actions, and not chemical ones. Both preservation and sale are always carried out in either special pasteboard or specific fabrics, in order to guarantee a very dry environment. The packaging are simple, minimalist, similar to people who live in this intensely cultivated plain, in order to give prominence to the product and, above all, trademark. Therefore, little attention is paid to graphics and colours, very much to quality of the packaging, for guaranteeing the success of this rice in cooking.


Traditional recipes
Risotto all'IsolanaThe IGP Nano Vialone Veronese rice cooks in about 15 minutes. Its characteristics are similar to the valuable ‘Carnaroli’ rice and it is an exquisite variety, especially suitable for preparing both ‘risotto’ and soups, besides rice croquettes and the renowned ‘arancini’, rice rissoles in either meat sauce, or cheese and vegetable ones, which are some examples of Italian traditional street food. A traditional recipe is ‘Risotto all’Isolana’, typical of Isola della Scala, where the rice is prepared with lean calf meat and pig loin. In order to season this dish, rosemary, salt, pepper, cinnamon, and much grated Parmigiano Reggiano are used. In order to cook ‘Risotto’, Amarone of Valpolicella is used, an excellent red wine of Verona.

Photo by Ferrarini

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