Although it's little known outside southern France, this is a very tasty rice, one worth knowing and eating for any rice lover. The first time I cooked it I really had little idea of what to expect, but I was very happily impressed with how tasty it is. You can cook the rice as you would pasta, in a good quantity of salted water or broth. When the rice is al dente, you simply drain it, then dress it with a good Provençal olive oil like ours from Eric Martin, salt, pepper and perhaps as assortment of chopped fresh herbs. It's got a really nice nutty flavor that makes an excellent side dish or main course.
The region of the Camargue, the source for the seeds (the rice is cultivated in California), is a unique blend of marshland that butts up against the Mediterranean coast between Marseille and Montpelier. Rice has been growing here since the 16th century. The high natural salt content in the region's soil made growing most crops a challenge, but because rice can handle higher levels of salinity, it proved to be well suited to the area. The Camargue is also known for its nature reserves, which have been legally protected since the early part of the 20th century. Eagles, hawks and other hard to find winged creatures are surprisingly commonplace.