Riso Gallo knows all too well that from the ancient techniques of CULTIVATION up to the present day, the quality of rice depends on experience and research.
In Italy rice is grown under water which is vital for protecting the seeds and seedlings from the low night temperatures.
Rice reaches full maturity between September and October and the fields are dried for the last time two weeks before harvesting, when modern combine harvesters fitted with caterpillar treads are used (as that they can move around with no risk of sinking into the muddy ground found in paddy fields).
Threshing yields paddy rice, the raw material that is then dried to remove any excess humidity.
This stage, which was once done on farm threshing floors using the warmth of the sun and used to last two or three days, is now performed by sophisticated machinery that cuts the time down to a few hours and conserves the product better.
At the factory in Robbio Lomellina, Riso Gallo combines artisan passion with cutting-edge technology when processing the rice to bring the taste of the best rice onto our tables.
Every year roughly 120,000 tons of paddy (unprocessed rice) are taken to the factory in Robbio Lomellina and transformed into the rice that is served on our tables.
After a first quality check when it reaches the factory, the paddy rice undergoes preliminary, thorough cleaning using cleaning machines and stone separators before it passes through huskers that remove the outer husk.
This process produces brown rice which is then sorted according to size by graders that remove the smaller, immature grains.
The brown rise is ready to be refined or whitened in a physical milling process that gradually removes the outer layers of the grain, husk and bran and leaves only the central part, the “kernel.”
During the refining process, the more fragile grains break to form brokens. Excess brokens are removed by sifting.
The rice that is produced is checked grain by grain by optical sorters that remove any discoloured grains.
Sorting is performed by highly sophisticated machinery with cameras that can identify and remove any grains that are not of standard colour.
Parboiling, or partial boiling, is a centuries-old technique that Riso Gallo was the first to use on the Italian market in a continuous cycle.
Parboiled rice is obtained through the completely natural procedure already known to the Hittites and the Egyptians of parboiling.
The untreated rice is first soaked in hot water, then steamed at a high temperature and finally dried with hot air before it is husked using the normal systems used to produce white rice.
During parboiling, the vitamins and mineral salts pass from the pericarp to inside the grain through osmosis and nutrients which are normally lost during normal processing are preserved.
The heat also gelatinises the starch which produces a more resistant grain that can not only be stored for longer, but is easy to prepare, is firmer and less sticky.
The Robbio factory also produces quick cooking rices which rapidly absorb water or stock using a Riso Gallo patented process.
Gran Riserva is the only one of its kind in the world and is the result of six generations of experience. With only a limited amount produced, it undergoes a very strict selection procedure, where only 20% of the paddy rice becomes Gran Riserva.
Gran Riserva is grown where the characteristics of the soil and the microclimate are highly favourable. Careful selection of the seeds and low density sowing guarantee a superior quality product. Through selective harvesting, only the plants in the centre of the rice field (where there is better exposure to the sun and less thermal shock caused by water circulation) are used.
Gran Riserva is matured for a year in ventilated silos before being processed. Here the grains are refined, a process that significantly improves their ability to hold their shape during cooking and increases their cooked volume to well above standard.
The strict selection process produces a large grain rice of uniform size. This means that traditional stone husking can be used in a uniform, highly delicate process that preserves the integrity of the grain and guarantees that it holds its shape during cooking and does not become sticky. This results in a top-quality ricewith virtually no imperfections, with large, plump grains that can be used to prepare excellent risottos. Gran Riserva, highly appreciated by experts and used by great chefs, is the ideal product for special occasion risottos!