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IL MARE DEL PIEMONTE E' A QUADRETTI

Rice and Piemonte, a combination of taste and tradition that tells a story made of changing landscapes, water lands, solid architecture, hard work and great hospitality...

The narration starts from the fifteenth century, when from Asia, following the tortuous and slow ways of cultural contacts among peoples, rice arrived in Italy and Piemonte started its cultivation.

The climatic characteristics and the territory rich in water, which from the mountains goes down into the valleys to reach the gentle plains, have allowed the spread of this cultivation that today extends to the provinces of Vercelli, Biella and Novara and partly the Alessandria area.

The story goes on until the beginning of the twentieth century when, from a mere agricultural activity, the rice fields of Piemonte also become a social laboratory. The transplant and cleaning of rice, as well as the harvest, needed a lot of labour. These activities, until the fifties of the twentieth century, bring to the rice field, since late spring, tens of thousands of people, especially women, the seasonal workers of the rice field that have inspired literature and cinema. The figure of the “mondina” disappeared in the early 60s with the introduction of chemical weeding and the emergence of mechanisation.

Rice has profoundly marked the culture of the territories by modelling the landscape, the architecture, the iconography, the historical memory, the folklore, the traditions and the songs related to rice fields, but not only that; through the creation of dishes and specialities, it has contributed to enhance and make famous the cuisine of Piemonte. The varieties of rice that make excellent dishes range from Arborio to Baldo, from Balilla to Carnaroli, from Roma to Sant'Andrea, to conclude with the Vialone Nano.

Today, the numbers of rice production are 116,000 cultivated hectares  that produce 8 million quintals of rice on average; numbers that proclaim Piemonte as the first national producer with about 55% of the total product. Since 2007, Piemonte also boasts the recognition of the European Union for the DOP "Riso di Baraggia Biellese and Vercellese", which covers about 25% of production in Piemonte.

The "submerged" rice cultivation extends over almost the entire plain at the foot of the Alps, creating the magical landscape that is poetically defined as "squared sea", which can be discovered and visited along the rice roads, where nature, culture, traditions, food and wine come together to offer "tasty" itineraries.