There is something special about discovering ancient grains and products that until a little while ago were practically lost. This is the case of the Ca' de Memi Cinquantino corn flour, a variety that up to a few years ago existed only in the archives.
Ca' de Memi researched, planted, and cultivated the "Cinquantino" cob in their field just north of Venice, giving life to an ingredient that keeps all the original properties and flavours.
HOW TO USE IT
It is ideal for preparing traditional Venetian yellow polenta, to use as breadcrumbs and for baking cakes. It gives an intense aroma and te flavour is like something you never tasted before.
To make polenta: bring a pot of water to the boil (usually the ratio is 1 part of flour, 4 parts of water), add salt and sprinkle in the flour, a little at a time, until it reaches a very soft consistency. Leave to simmer, stirring occasionally, for about 50 minutes. Add a little hot water to soften the polenta when needed, and butter before serving.
WHY WE LOVE IT
Its bright yellow colour, the flavour and coarse nature quickly made it into our favourite ingredients of all time. Plus, learning of the existence of a seed library where all ancient grains are kept safe, intrigued us so much we are now wondering if such place allow visitors!
Ca’ de Memi is a small farm in the Venetian countryside, in North-Eastern Italy. The farm consists of only 13 hectares of land, owned and run by the Scquizzato family—who made it their mission to recover ancient varieties of maize in order to preserve local biodiversity.
Maize cultivation is deeply rooted in Venetian history since the 16th century. The culinary past, and present, of the “Serenissima” Republic of Venice is brimming with recipes that feature corn as their key ingredient: corn flour is used for polenta (a savoury cream used as a side for meat and fish), but also for bread, cakes, biscuits (zaeti are the most popular ones), as well as breading for fried delicacies (together with breadcrumbs). We visited Ca' de Memi in the autumn of 2021 and are happy to consider this a 100% Gold Beetle Certified™.