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Monterosso Spelt, an ancient grain returns to our tables

Luigi Silvestri

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Spelt originated in Mesopotamia and its roots run deep in the history of Man, as it was cultivated for centuries in Ancient Rome, before the advent of its close relative, wheat. Spelt could be crushed and ground into flour to make flatbread, but it was also added to soups.

The use of spelt gradually declined as yeast was discovered and leavened bread and baked products made from wheat became more widespread. In recent decades, however, the nutritional properties and health benefits of spelt have been rediscovered. In the Marche region, in the hill country of the Apennine foothills, a farm business called Azienda Monterosso began to cultivate this crop, selecting the best varieties over the last few decades so that, today, it sells different types of flour and meal as well as a variety of pasta and its products are marketed both nationally and internationally.

Nowadays, spelt is highly sought after by those who like a natural diet that is rich in fiber and low in fat; it is especially recommended for people who suffer from intestinal disturbances or have digestive difficulties, but it is an excellent ingredient also for people who do sports, thanks to its high fiber content.  Anyone who can appreciate the value of eating a healthy diet and strives to combine good taste with good nutrition will want to bring spelt to the table; so versatile, spelt flour can be made into a focaccia flat bread or it can be blended with wheat flour to make bread, crushed or whole spelt can be cooked and eaten hot, in soups (as is or with vegetables or beans) or cold, in salads.

It is optimal when served with a good quality olive oil. Monterosso grows its own “Triticum dicoccum” spelt in our territory, carefully controls all phases of production and guarantees the quality of its products. The range includes: spelt flour, pearled spelt, crushed spelt, spelt pasta (spaghetti, riccioli curly queues, pennette small quills). All of the products are easy to prepare and can readily be used in the kitchen, alone or in combination with other grains such as rice or barley, with vegetables and/or legumes.

Just a few years ago, the farm business also opened what is called a Farroteca, owned and managed by Monterosso, where spelt products in all their forms can be tasted and purchased. In the vicinity, Borgo Roncaglia has recently opened its doors, offering refined hospitality to clients who come looking for a bit of relaxation in these restful hills  (www.mrosso.it)


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