It is grown in southern France in marshland on the coast between Marseille and Montpelier
It is grown by the Griotto family. Since 2005, it has been run by three brothers: Serge, Philippe and Olivier.
The rice is harvested with a combine, but grown herbicide-free.
90% of the crop is exported.
The rice has European PGI status.
When cooked, it won’t be fluffy; it will turn deeper red, and be slightly sticky and still keep a bit of a chewy texture.
It is very good in rice salads and jambalaya.
Allow 2 oz (50g) per person. Cover rice in a pot with boiling water. Simmer until tender — about 30 to 40 minutes, then drain and serve. It will colour anything you cook with it red as well. You can also cook it up in stock or broth. Some like to toss it with olive oil, herbs, and salt and pepper.
Store in a cool, dark place for up to 1 year.
Rice was growing in the wild in the Camargue area of France since at least the reign of Henry IV (13 December 1553 to 14 May 1610) when it was introduced to the area.
The rice was hard to harvest, because when ready to harvest it just fell out into the water.
Still, farmers started growing rice with greater gusto in 1830 in the Camargue, as there was too much salt getting into the ground water, which might kill off everything else growing in the region. Large rice paddies were created to grow rice which would absorb the salt. Consequently, the area became an important area of rice production until just after WWII.
A chance cross between the wild rice and a short grain rice was discovered in 1983 by a René Griotto (died 1989.) He found it growing at the foot of the Montmajor Abbey. Development of the cross was pursued in conjunction with the French “Institut national de la recherche agronomique” (INRA.) They’d grow plants, select seed from certain plants, then grow those, till finally they settled on the plant breed known today as Camargue Red Rice.
The first crop was harvested in 1988. Full-scale production and commercialization began in 1992.
It’s been reported here and there that Camargue Red Rice was grown since 1958; disregard that; it’s a typo of “1988” that has been repeated in several languages.
Tresmontant, Emmanuel. Le riz rouge de la famille Griotto. Michelin. May 2001.