My latest discovery: Venus Black Rice. Originally Chinese, Italian black rice comes from the Po valley, and I gather is a relatively recent concept; the result of a noble collaboration between a co-operative of Northern Italian rice growers and a Chinese hybridisation specialist (were you aware that there was such a thing?)
Yesterday, I made myself a simple working lunch using the remains of a packet of Riso Venere from the Sala Cereali Company of Sondrio. You can cook it very much like a risotto. The rice turns a deep purple- indeed the colour of Roman Emperors- and releases a highly fragrant starch. It's delicious.
If you cook it in a good fish stock, it's almost hard to believe that this rice hasn't been cooked in deepest black, rich squid ink. It would work brilliantly with cuttlefish, squid, octopus and the like. Highly recommended.