Il Vialone Nano

The grain of the Stars

by Lavinia Colonna Preti
Il Vialone Nano — Veneto Secrets

The history of this rice has ancient origins, but despite from the other Italian varieties that come from the Middle East, this one comes from faraway Japan and it arrived in Italy probably thanks to the merchants that crossed the Silk Root till Venice. Thanks to The Serenissima that started to enhance many of its inland territories because of its expansionist will, it started the spreading of Vialone, above all in Verona, where its cultivation, thanks to the pureness of its water, begun in ‘500 pushed by the massive arrival of rich people from Verona and Venezia attracted by the business in the newborn agricultural “factories”.

Today, Vialone Nano IGP (Indicazione Geografica Protetta) can be cultivated only in 24 municipalities of the province of Verona. It is the first rice in Europe to obtain in 1996 the IGP title. Its production is mainly ruled and promoted by the Producer Association with the same name, located at Isola della Scala, one of the main productive locations, where the famous Fiera del Riso (Rice Fair) take place, it is the most visited event dedicated to the rice.

Here, in Isola della Scala, it is still working and visitable the so called Pila Vecia of Passolongo (from “pilare”, a process to treat the rice). Built in 1650 upon request of the Republic of Venice, it perfectly keeps the wooden mechanisms, the pestles, moved by a big water wheel, where still today the rice is produced by hand.

Considered by the international chefs among the best rices in the world for its perfect balance between absorbing capacity and the low loss of amid that guarantees a great cooking persistence, Vialone Nano Veronese is perfect to prepare the so called “risotto all’italiana”, in fact the loss of amid during the cooking allows an easy creamy consistency.

Why you will love it
For its absorbing ability of the seasoning and the high cooking persistence.

Where to taste it
At L’Artigliere restaurant hosted in the bigger and most ancient watermill born in the 1612 as the place where the rice was produced. Here chef Davide Botta creates its incredible gourmet risotto.

The perfect pairing
Use it in the famous Risotto all’Isolana, the receipt thought by Cavalier Pietro Secchiati is with veal, pork loin and grana cheese, whereas for the most refined palates you can’t miss the smoked risotto with raw red prawns, candied lemon, herring caviar and leek sprout.

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