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Typical Products

Rice of Po Delta


DESCRIPTION:

Riso IGPThe name “Rice of Po Delta” refers exclusively to the fruit of rice classified as type “Japonica”, Superfine group in the varieties Carnaroli, Volano, Baldo and Arborio.
It has a large grain which is crystalline, compact, with a high protein content and can be white or brown.
Its great absorption, low starch loss and good resistance during cooking, added to its organoleptic characteristics, such as special aroma and flavour, make it the preferred rice to exalt the finest risottos.
To be entered for consumption, all varieties of “rice of Po Delta must have a protein content over 6.60% of dry weight, and a degree of stickiness when cooked (in g/cm) which is differentiated according to the different varieties: Baldo > 4,5; Carnaroli > 1.5; volano > 3,0; Arborio > 3.5.


PRODUCTION AREA:

The typical area for producing “Rice of Po Delta” stretches over the extreme eastern cone of the Po Valley between the regions of Veneto and Emilia Romagna, in the territories formed by debris and land made by the Po River. The area is delimited to the East by the Adriatic Sea, to the North by the River Adige and to the South from the navigable waterway Ferrara/Porto Garibaldi.
The “Rice of Po Delta” is cultivated in Veneto in the province of Rovigo, in the communes of Ariano nel Polesine, Porto Viro, Taglio di Po, Porto Tolle, Corbola, Papozze, Rosolina and Loreo.


BIOLOGY, ECOLOGY AND HISTORY:

Rice is one of the oldest plants cultivated for food. It originates from South-East Asia and is a marsh species. Its first introduction into Italy seems to have been in the South by the Arabs and Spaniards.
At the beginning of cultivation was often implemented by the shepherds who sowed rice in the marshes crossed in spring when traveling towards the mountains and then harvested it on their return to the plain in the autumn.
Rice cultivation in the Po Delta dates back to 1400, although extensive and organized production did not develop until the 16th century thanks to the Estensi family, who managed to exploit marshland that would have otherwise have remained abandoned.
A few decades after the spread of rice farming in the Paduan plain (1450) the first documents recording the presence of crops in Polesine appear, in particular in the territory of the Po Delta: indeed this crop was closely linked to reclamation because it accelerated the process of using saltwater land for crop rotation, as testified by a law of the Venetian Republic of 1594.
The affirmation of rice crops was considerable and soon became a source of export for many countries.
The isolation of the territory, the particular terrain of the emersed land and its continued expansion in the turbidity of the branches of the Po during the 16th and 17th centuries, made Polesine the elected land for rice as its isolation prevented the spread of phitopathologies such as “Brusone”, and availability of new lands ensured the rotation of rice paddies even in the presence of tired soil.
When the price of rice, between 1825 and 1835, exceeded the price of wheat, with increases that lasted over a decade, in Polesine the paddies surpassed 11,000 hectares of investment. In the late 1800s it was reduced to 6900 hectares due to the collapse of the price of rice due to the competition of oriental rice whose commercial penetration was facilitated by the opening of the Suez Canal and by the reduction in available soils. The crisis so triggered continued in 1900 and was reduced to approximately 2,500 hectares in just the marine areas.

Today the rice fields of the Po Delta cover approximately 9,000 hectares of territory, where “japonica” rice is grown, predominantly the Superfine type, in the Carnaroli varieties, Volano, Baldo and Arborio, all with special organoleptic features that distinguish them from other rice produced elsewhere in Italy. The influence of this crop is present in the local culture and social development of the area; rice has been packaged and marketed for years by numerous companies with the name “Riso del Delta del Po”.


GEOGRAPHY:

The characteristics of the soil, the temperate climate and proximity to the sea, are the main factors that condition and characterize production in this territory of “Po Delta rice”. Rice is indeed an ideal crop in this area as it is the only one possible to grow on land which is permanently semi submerged.
The alluvial soils of the Po Delta, deriving from the final sediment of the river courses, are particularly fertile as they are rich in minerals, especially potassium so it is not necessary to add potassium fertilisers.

Over time rice and its cultivation have determined not only the productive but also the social, territorial and urban structure of the Po Delta. Marshy and unhealthy land has was turned into verdant rice paddies from which more and more “casoni” made from ditch reeds emerged, the simple houses for workers of paddy fields. Around them an urban reality developed to meet the needs of both the production of rice and the vital needs of the workers themselves. Farmyards, granaries, dry houses, more comfortable houses, churches, schools, “osterie” (taverns), farm shops and streets together formed stable settlements.

Manufacturers
There are 47companies who cultivate rice in the territory of competence of the Consorzio di Bonifica Delta Po making up a total of 2,400 hectares.
In the area of the Po Delta in the province of Rovigo, the Association of Rice farmers of the Po Delta based in Taglio di Po has been active since 1998 There are 16 associate firms for a total of 1628 hectares.


USEFUL TO KNOW:

The peculiarities of “Riso del Delta del Po” are connected with its high protein content, the size of its grain, the high absorbency and low loss of starch, its high quality which all give it good resistance during cooking.
It also has a particular flavour and aroma which distinguishes it from rice produced in areas where the water is not brackish.
Few foods are so versatile in the kitchen: starting from hors d'oeuvres and finishing with desserts, rice can be the protagonist of a full meal provided, however, that the right type is chosen for each dish. There are, in fact, many varieties available on the market, each with its own characteristics and different behaviour in cooking.
The reputation of Po Delta rice is also linked to traditional fairs and festivals held annually in the area, like the famous Giornate del riso del Delta del Po at Jolanda di Savoia (FE) and the Fair of Porto Tolle.


LEGISLATION:

The Protected Geographical Indication “Riso del Delta del Po” obtained
European registration with EC regulation 1078/2009 of 10 november2009, published in the Official Journal of the European Union L 294 of 11 November 2009.


MARKET OF REFERENCE:

La Risicolori Polesani società consortile, main offices in Taglio di Po (RO), distributes through the Commerciale Pezzolato Sas (present in supermarket chains Alì-Alìper and CRAI-SPAC, besides Delicatessens and retailers).
Commercial Pezzolato Sas
P.zza 1 Maggio, 4
45018 Porto Tolle (Ro)
Tel. and Fax. + 39 0426 81024
info@commercialepezzolato.it




Gastronomy:

RISOTTO DE PESSE ALLA POLESANA (RISOTTO WITH FISH)

Ingredients (for 5 servings)
350 g rice, 300 g of cleaned fish (mussels, clams, razor clams, cuttlefish, shrimp, squid or whatever is fished on the day), 2 l of fish stock, 20 g olive oil, 30 g of onion. 2 g garlic, 3 g chopped parsley, 50 g of dry white wine, 30 g butter, 30 g of Parmesan cheese, 50 g tomato sauce (optional), salt and pepper.

Method
Prepare fish for cooking washing thoroughly. Open mussels and clams in a separate pan (all is needed is oil, garlic and a lid) and shell. Sauté the chopped onion in a pan with a little oil; Add fish in pieces starting from those which need most cooking, add rice, white wine and broth a little at a time and always mixing, salt, pepper and parsley. One may leave the risotto white or add a little tomato sauce or fresh diced tomatoes (to taste). Complete with the butter, cheese and some chopped parsley before serving the risotto rigorously “al dente”.



CARNAROLI RICE OF THE DELTA CREAMED WITH ROSEMARY

Ingredients
500 gr carnaroli rice, vegetable broth 1l, 10 gr each of fresh rosemary, sage, bay leaves, thyme, 50 gr white wine, 50 gr butter, 100 gr Grana Padano cheese, a white onion, 20 gr extra virgin olive oil

Method
Fry the chopped onion with olive oil, add rice, cook for a couple of minutes, add wine and start to cook the rice adding the broth a little at a time. When cooking is almost completed add the very finely chopped herbs, cream with butter and Grana Padano.
Presentation
Spoon risotto onto a plate and decorate with a sprig of fresh rosemary.



RISOTTO WITH RADECIO SOLE (RISOTTO WITH RADICCHIO OF CHIOGGIA)

The cooking of rice, typical cuisine of the Polesine starts to evolve from the sixteenth century; in recent decades it is served more soft and creamy and less and less in soup

Ingredients (for 5 servings)
400 g of rice, 30 g olive oil, 150 g of Chioggia radicchio, 2 l of vegetable stock (or meat stock), 40 g minced onion, 30 g dry white wine, 40 g of Grana Padano cheese, 30 g butter, a pinch of sugar, 5 g cooking cream (optional), salt and pepper.

Method
Sauté the onions in a saucepan with oil, add the finely sliced radicchio, rice, white wine and stir constantly adding the broth a little at a time; season with salt and pepper. The sugar and cream are to counteract the bitterness of the radicchio. Before serving the risotto strictly “al dente”, complete with butter and cheese.



RISI E FASOI DURI (RICE A LA CANAROLA) RISOTTO WITH SALT COD

The fish that is commonly called baccalà in the rodigino area has become a local speciality. De-boned and reduced to a purée, cooked expertly by masterly hands and added, as in this case, to a risotto, it becomes a delicacy that enchants the most refined palate. Here, gastronomy tells the story of change of a population that is constantly evolving, that of the “Polesani” who know how to merge foods from different backgrounds to make a unique, representative and exemplary dish.

Ingredients (for 10 servings)
700 gr. Carnaroli rice of Delta, 300 Gr. of stockfish (dried salt cod cooked in white sauce), 2 litres of vegetable stock, 120 gr. of Grana Padano cheese, 80 gr. butter, 15 gr. of parsley.

Method
In a large saucepan, brown the rice (Carnaroli of the Delta) in a little oil, drizzle with white wine, add the cod cooked previously (preferably not with tomato), add stock and stir continuously, finish off with a little butter, lots of grana cheese and finely chopped parsley.

Wine matching
Tocai rosso di Barbarano-Collio Friulano DOC






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