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White, black, brown or red: a rainbow of rice varieties.
In nature, rice can have as many different hues as there are colours in the rainbow. White rice has always been both the most common and the most cultivated variety, while brown, in all its variations, comes highly recommended because, being less refined, it retains more of its nutritional value, even if it takes longer to cook (at least 40 minutes to reach a palatable level of softness).
Surprisingly, however, rice can also be naturally black or red. Black rice is produced in various parts of the world. Of the long-grain black rice varieties, Canadian rice is amongst the best known, even if, because of its hardness, it’s cooking time is particularly long(up to an hour) and is best enjoyed when mixed with softer varieties. Other famous varieties of black rice also come from Thailand, India, and the United States.
In Bhutan, on the other hand, but also in France (for example in the Camargue region) and elsewhere, an intensely red variety of rice is produced, whose colour comes from special process of grain fermentation. Due to its curative properties, this type of rice is also used as the basis of a number of traditional Chinese medicines.