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Rice history

Varieties of rice

Rice classification

“Risotto” is often considered a typical dish thah belong specifically at the “pianura padana” plain, but in the history has been able to assert itself in the culinary cultures of all Italy.

The first appearance historically confirmed of the rice cultivation in Italy dates back to 1475 with particular reference to Piemonte, Lombardia and Veneto. 
The growth of rice cultivation is impressive, reaching within a few years hundreds of thousands of hectares for region. The introduction in Italy of Asian rice, imported starting from 1869 with the opening of the Suez Canal, creates a little crisis in the Italian rice market. In 1931, was established the “Ente Nazionale Risi” in order to defend the Italian production through premiums to the exporters, sales contracts with foreign countries, construction of warehouses and dryers for collective use and launching a strong promotional campaign. The production of rice undergoes continuous fluctuations, both positive and negative, related mainly to internal political and foreign developments.

Today, the “Italian rice tank” is considered the most important in Europe. Not just considering the numbers, but above of all referring to the qualities prized produced. Even today, rice is grown mainly in Lombardia, Veneto and Piemonte. In Lombardia, the primacy production lies in Pavia which provides predominantly Arborio, Vialone Nano and Carnaroli, the three most valuable quality of Italian production. In Piemonte the primacy belongs to the provinces of Vercelli and Novara where you can cultivate different varieties of rice such as Arborio, Volano and Roma. In Piemonte risotto should be eaten “al dente”(). In Veneto rice grow up since 1500 with net prevalence of Vialone Nano, introduced in 1937.

The cultivation of rice is mainly in 4 stages:

 preparation of the land;
 flooding of plots and sowing;
“monda” (rice peeling process)

Preparing the ground: during the spring. The fields are ploughed, leveled and fertilized. 

Flood and sowing: flooding of fields with a blanket of water high approx. 10 cm. It needs to grow the plants, the growing period has a duration of ca.150-180 days. 
The sowing takes place in April. 

Peeling: takes place in June and serves to remove the weeds that stifle the growth of rice. 

Yield: takes place between the beginning of September and mid October.

Before being commercialized, rice undergoes various processes.

Drying: used to remove moisture in rice oil (20-30% of the Product). The rice for consumption by law should not contain a moisture content higher than 15%. 

Smoothing: removal of “glumelle”, the first skin of the rice, through rubbing,. From this first work process you get the brown rice. Rice when it is still covered by the brown hull is known as paddy

Whitening: abrasion with which you remove the additional coatings (chaff). 
With a first step gets a husked rice, with two additional steps can be obtained respectively semi-refined and refined rice. Finally, the separation from foreign objects, through an optical control machine that separate grains among themselves according to the color.

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