In a nutshell: The very best risotto rice there is, this 100% carnaroli is grown among the pristine and fertile soils of an Italian nature reserve. Unhusked, this brown, wholegrain 'integrale' rice is perfect for rice salads, soups and stews.
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If you’re serious about your rice making, you’ll want to use this unhusked brown 'integrale' rice. Riserva San Massimo uses carefully selected seeds of what it calls “authentic carnaroli” – that is, the original variety, not one of the similar though inferior species that Italian law permits to be sold under the ‘carnaroli’ name.
It’s grown in Lombardy's San Massimo nature reserve, whose fertile soils are fed by the mineral-rich waters of the river Ticino and by 44 naturally occurring karst springs.
This is picked and dried straight from the rice paddies. Left unhusked to preserve all the fibre and flavour. The rice is perfect for rice salads, soups, stews and “al salto” dishes where you re-fry the rice into pancakes. Simply boiled it is delicious but note that it takes longer to cook than normal rice - about 40 minutes and you're ready to use it.
Details: Available as a 500g box or a 1kg bag.
How to use it:
About Riserva San Massimo:
Over the course of centuries, the Ticino river, which tumbles down from the Swiss Alps, changed its original course through the broad plains of northern Italy. It left behind a fertile swathe of land, whose peaty soils, rich in micronutrients, proved to be the ideal medium for growing rice.
It is here, in the heart of a protected natural reserve, that Guido Antonello and his team, led by estate manager Dino Massignani, since 2005, harness the pure, mineral-laden waters of the reserve’s 44 natural karst springs to cultivate their superior-quality carnaroli. The Antonello family have dedicated their lives to protecting the biodiversity and beauty of this eco reserve teeming with wildlife.
Attention to detail and adherence to tradition are key. Only organic, natural fertilisers are used – and even then, only lightly. The harvested rice is dried at low temperatures, then rested in airy silos, the way risotto rice has been prepared for centuries.
At each stage of production, the choices Dino makes aren’t the easy, time-saving, penny-pinching ones – instead, he’s guided by his desire to produce the best risotto rice he can. This way, the rice keeps all the flavour and fragrance it gained during its ripening in this completely natural habitat.
"My mother was a mondina (one of the women known as 'mondine' who weeded the paddies in Italy's rice belt in the 1940's) and my family has always been linked to the world of rice," Dino says.
"Life as a mondina was gruelling and rice was torn by hand. Since I was a child I've felt a love for the fields, nature and animals and this led me to my passion for preserving true carnaroli rice. In the 1980's Carnaroli was disappearing but now people are rediscovering this authentic rice."
Don't forget to check out the other San Massimo rice on our website, Rosa Marchetti Semi-integrale (part husked) and Carnaroli Superfino Bianco (White).
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