Igiea Adami, Piedmont
Riso Gange is a variety of aromatic rice, like basmati, but one that can grow in Italy’s northern latitudes and for each pack that Igiea sells she donates money to the Indian charity Samparc in Calcutta. Its wonderful aroma and perfumed flavour makes it perfect in pilafs, salads or torta di riso, (al dente rice that is mixed with parmesan, eggs and herbs, pressed into a cake tin and baked in an oven)
In 1821 Igiea’s distant relative, Paolo Solaroli, was exiled to India for his revolutionary ideas. There he made his fortune, married an Indian princess, returned to Piedmont in 1867 and bought the tiny hamlet of Beni di Busonengo to grow rice. It is in an area of wild flatlands called the Baraggia, now a nature reserve, where poor, clay soil fed with cold waters channeled straight off the Monte Rosa massif in the Alps provides the perfect growing conditions for rice.