Riserva San Massimo is a nature reserve that extends on an area of more than 800 hectares, constituting the rarest environmental sphere of the Lombardic park of the Ticino valley.
Agricultural fields, heathlands, an unpolluted forest full of karst springs and fontanili (a kind of small stagnant water) as well as paths lined with indigenous fruit trees create the impressive variety this unique landscape has to offer. It is the cradle of a biodiversity in which also the wild fauna has found its ideal habitat.
Thanks to the variety of the ecosystem it hosts, the nature reserve became Site of Community Importance (SIC) in 2004 and was subsequently declared Special Protection Area (ZPS). The Riserva San Massimo represents an extremely important ecological path inside the Ticino park: it is part of the natural territory in which the continuity between different habitats favors the genetic exchange between the plant species and the fauna’s migration and thus the conservation of the biodiversity
In this context acacia and mixed-flower honey as well as the rice of Riserva San Massimo are produced. A Carnaroli Autentico of the highest quality, cultivated exclusively in the nature reserve from the best, 100% Carnaroli certificated, seeds
The rice received the blue label of Parco Ticino – Produzione Controllata which identifies producers that use eco-friendly agricultural techniques. The uniqueness of this place is also confirmed through the presence of a significant number of critically endangered animal and plant species. This caught the attention of regional authorities and the University of Pavia. For years Riserva San Massimo welcomes scholars from the university’s science and environmental department that come here to study the fauna, particularly for understanding how to treat and preserve them.
The production process of the different rice varieties of Riserva San Massimo is still completely artisanal. This way the rice keeps intact all of the flavors, fragrances and organoleptic qualities that it gained during its ripening in this completely natural habitat. The work of Cristiano Guizzardi and Dino Massignani's knowledge of each single plant are crucial to the quality of the rice from Riserva San Massimo.
Massignani observes the rice farming, step by step and season after season with the objective to keep the best artisanal practices alive while introducing innovative processing methods at the same time. When the right degree of maturation is reached, the paddy (before it is husked) is picked and immediately low temperature dried on the farm. This drying method is not only the healthier solution, it also works with low temperatures and therefore maintains each grain intact and compact.
At the end of the drying process the rice is stored in ventilated silos, just like it was done in the past, without adding any kind of preservative. Then, based on the clients requests, the rice is husked in small quantities, using conical stones that rid the grain from the pericarp in a completely natural way. This way the maximum freshness of the final product can be guaranteed. With this slow stone-processing technique the temperature can be kept low, avoiding to “precook” the rice and preventing cracks in the grains. In this way all the organoleptic qualities of each rice grain are conserved.
For the long-term protection of the product, the rice it is packaged under modified atmosphere (MAP) right after the husking. This procedure guarantees an extremely long preservability that maintains all the characteristics of freshly picked rice.
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