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The rice fields of the Po valley

Infinite rice fields define the ever-changing decor of the Po valley. Many tourists, rushing from the north to Toscane or even deeper into the Italian boot, probably will not realize they are crossing the most important rice production area of Europe. 

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In spring the rice fields are put under water using an ingenious irrigation system. It gives an impressive sight of huge lakes in which villages and farmhouses form temporary islands. 

When the rice plants have firmly nestled, the water disappears again and the rice fields are colored green.

The rice is harvested in September and October, dried in silos and turned into a white grain as end product. 

Most of the rice from the Po valley is used for the preparation of the famous Italian dish risotto.

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Five generations Perinotti

The Perinotti family lives and works for five generations in the Grange Vercellesi region, the heart of the rice production in the Po valley.

The rice varieties under the name 'Gli Aironi' are well-known for their high quality.  

In the village of Lignano, draped between the rice fields, director Michele Perinotti is willing to provide us with detailed explanation about the production of rice. He is drawing schedules to explain the ingenious way of supplying and discharging the water for the fields. In addition to his theory lessons Michele shows us channels, wells and locks.  

At the end of the Gli Airone tour we visit the farm of the Perinotti family.

A few moments later we are joining his brother in the threshing machine, bringing in the last parts of the rice harvest of this year. 

The secret of Risotto

Only a few species of round grain rice are suitable for the preparation of risotto. The main types: Arborio, Baldo, Carnaroli and Vialone. 

The production of risotto rice is an accurate job. After the drying process the rice should be polished to a white grain without losing the thin layer of starch.
That layer is essential for the preparation of a good risotto.

This Italian dish with its various variants, is known as rather difficult to prepare. 
Especially the addition of small amounts of wine and/or broth to the slow cooking rice is important. Only by being very patient the starch in the rice wil bind in a natural way. The rice grains fill with the moisture and only after about 18 minutes the risotto will reach the desired structure. Just like the preparation of pasta here also is the golden rule that the rice should be al dente

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