In a nutshell: This ancient grain is rich in fibre, vitamins and minerals, with a nutty flavour, and is the perfect addition to salads, soups and stews.
Farro is one of the most world's oldest grains to be first cultivated. Widely used by the ancient Greeks and Romans, especially as a filling meal for their marching armies. It's homeland is still the hills and valleys of Tuscany where a particularly nutritious variety of true farro, Triticum Dicoccum, found ideal growing conditions. Also sometimes known confusingly as emmer or spelt, Tuscan farro tastes and looks a little like brown rice with a wonderful nutty taste and barley and herbal overtones.
Our farro perlato (pearled farro) has had some of its outer husk removed so that it does not require soaking and cooks faster in about 30-40 minutes covered in water or stock and over a medium heat.
Use in the popular minestra or zuppa di farro- a rustic soup that can be made solely with chopped vegetables and herbs, but is often also found with added beans and a little pancetta. Tuscans also supplement it for rice in farrotto, a farro-esque variation on a risotto theme. It also goes well in savoury or sweet salads.
Kolyva (or koliva), the symbolic and ancient Greek dish still made to commemorate deceased loved ones, also uses farro along with nuts, pomegranate seeds, raisins, spices and sugar.
How to use:
- Use in a salad with beetroot and feta.
- delicious tossed with grilled or roasted vegetables.
- Add to soups or stews.
About Il Cilegio
Close to the famous Medieval walled town of Monteriggioni in Tuscany, with its imposing turrets and walls, lies the Azienda Agricola Il Cilegio. Owned by the Pattaro family, who have been farming 140 hectares of land since 1952. Today, almost half their land is given over to olive groves and vineyards where they produce excellent Chianti and olive oil. The rest of their fields are cultivated with wonderful beans and pulses, local grains and wheats, all stoneground in their mill and sold to appreciative bakers and chefs in nearby Siena and its surrounds. A farmhouse restaurant is always busy in the summer months with locals who come to eat the classic, rustic Tuscan dishes made with the farm’s produce and is well worth a visit if you’re ever in the area.