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gran/grano

wheat or grain

Wheatfield

Although frumento is properly 'wheat', gran or grano (grain) is commonly used as well, and the Italians, naturally, are great connoisseurs; see also grano duro and farina. There is a movement in recent years to bring back historic varieties of wheat and spelt (farro). Grano saraceno is buckwheat; grano di caffé is a coffee bean.

Some wheat versions of grano you may see include:

Gran cotto (cooked wheat in a jar— used in the classic Neapolitan Easter pie, Pastiera)

grano al ragù: boiled grains of wheat with a sauce of salt pork, sausage and tomato sauce, topped with grated pecorino (Basilicata)

Grano del faraone: an ancient semolina wheat 'of the Pharaoh'

Grano dolce: another word for cuccia (Basilicata)

Grano duro Cappelli (durum wheat Cappelli) a sweet easy digestible wheat for pasta

Grano marzuolo: an ancient kind of drought-resistant wheat, used in make the traditional pane nero di Castelvetrano

Grano tenero Gentil Rosso (semolina Gentil Rosso) a 19th-century variety

Grano tenero Sieve (Sieve semolina): ancient variety used again for bread and sweets.

Grano tenero Verna (Verna wheat): used for baking

In late June, Faicchio in the province of Benevento (Campania) hosts a Festa del Grano, celebrating traditional ways of planting and harvesting wheat and making it into bread and pasta, with plenty of folklore, music and dancing.

Text © Dana Facaros and Michael Pauls

Images by: Meena Kadri