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wheat or grain


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 kinds of wheat grains you may see include:

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

Grani antichi: varieties of native wheat. Some 291 different ones exist (or existed) in Italy in the 1920s, including over 50 in Sicily (grani duri antichi siciliani) once the breadbasket of Rome.

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Food Festivals

Rice, Polenta & Grains

Text © Dana Facaros & Michael Pauls

Image by Meena Kadri