Hemp: from vermouth to milk, a thousand products for an amazing plant


Hemp is a versatile plant, increasingly used for many different products: we will tell you a few, from milk to vermouth.

Hemp is one of the plants (perhaps second only to apple) that has caused the most discussion throughout history. At the center of political debates, treated as a narcotic substance, cannabis is actually a treasure trove of active ingredients. Only recently have these substances been studied which already bode well as regards the possible cure of Parkinson’s, ALS but also anorexia or glaucoma. To be legal and therefore to be used in areas such as medicine, cosmetics or food and wine, hemp must have levels of THC (the stoning principle tetrahydrocannabinol ) lower than 0.5% while the green light for CBD (cannabidiol) which, being the good agent, it can be present in larger quantities.

Italian crops increase

The thousand applications of hemp have meant that in Italy, according to Coldiretti data , in 5 years the land cultivated with cannabis sativa has increased by 10 times, from 400 hectares in 2013 to almost 4000 in 2018 , from Puglia to Piedmont. , from Veneto to Basilicata, but also in Lombardy, Friuli Venezia Giulia, Sicily and Sardinia. But it is near Turin that hemp has found its maximum expression. The area dedicated to cultivation is the Canavese: it seems that its name derives from Canapeseprecisely because of the immense crops that thrived in this area. Until the early 1900s, Canavese hemp was so renowned that it was also in demand outside national borders and, it seems, that the tops of the English Royal Navy came from here.

It all started with vermouth: Hempatico

And from here comes the first hemp vermouth , the result of the collaboration between Affini , a Turin cocktail bar with great experience in the field of mixology, Evho , a Turin bartendering school and Nicolò Nania , a young expert in the cultivation and transformation of industrial hemp in Piedmont. . Following the zero km philosophy, Hempaticoit is made starting from two Piedmontese excellences: Erbaluce, DOCG vine of Caluso (Turin) and Cortese Doc which is produced in the provinces of Alessandria, Asti and Cuneo. Two varieties of hemp are used to make Hempatico vermouth: Carmagnola (the oldest in Italy, with citrus scents) and Eletta Campana (which gives a typical hint of hazelnut). Hempatico is the only reserve hemp vermouth in the world, since the hemp used to produce it comes from the harvest of the year alone.

From a 6-handed job, all from Turin, which involved Manuel Montalbano, founder of Evho, Niccolò Tealdi and Martin Marchetti, respectively chef and bartender of Affini Rivendita 1, a food pairing was born that accompanies dishes where hemp is the protagonist with cocktails based on Hempatico. For an appetizer, the hemp leaves are fried in tempura and served with a spicy sauce. The combination is with Hempassion where Hempatico mixes with another Piedmontese jewel, the Asti dry, and is sweetened with a puree of passion fruit.

Followed by Hemp dumplings with diced monkfish and zucchini to be enjoyed with Hempbrew , a cocktail with Hempatico, grappa, Anselmo hazelnut vermouth and cold brew coffee. For the second, hemp is the protagonist of the sandwich that welcomes a beef burger seasoned with smoked barbecue sauce. The smoky scent is found in the Hempsmoke cocktail , a mix of Hempatico, Mezcal, Cynar and rosemary honey. Finally, with the dessert, a chocolate and hemp ganache with amaretti and berries crumble, pure Hempatico.

The other hemp products

Niccolò Tealdi’s menu is an example of how versatile hemp is and, above all, of how each of its components can be used in the kitchen, so much so that it has been nicknamed vegetable pig .

 

  1. Oil . Extrabis was born in Liguria from the encounter between the Taggiasca olive and hemp . In the ROI oil mill , the aroma and cannabinoids of hemp grown by Sunremo Lab in old greenhouses in the area which were put back into operation after they had been abandoned due to the market crisis of this plant, are extracted in an oil bath so that no organoleptic characteristics of the ingredients is modified. The result is a tasty oil, with a herbaceous and fresh scent, with balsamic notes enriched with Omega 6 and CBD that can be used raw but also in cooking from appetizers to richer dishes.
  2. Cannabis wine . Born from the union between the Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi Doc of the Monte Schiavo winery by Andrea Pieralisi in Jesi and the Green Hemp hemp of Alessio Amatori in Cingoli, Canavì is the first cannabis-based wine produced in Italy and in Europe. Fresh hemp inflorescences are added to the basic Verdicchio, thus obtaining a flavored drink (European legislation prevents the wording of wine from being put on the label ) with an intense taste with mineral, spicy, fruity and floral tones that goes well with pasta, pizza, aged cheeses and white meats.
  3. Hemp milk . Hemp milk is obtained from the seeds processed with water, rich in Omega 3, Omega 6, lecithin and calcium (a cup covers half the daily intake for an adult) but also in phosphorus, B vitamins, mineral salts and vegetable proteins.
  4. Tofu . With hemp milk you can make ice creams, smoothies and the precious Hemp-fu . Inserted among the superfoods, hemp tofu has an important protein intake as it contains all 8 essential amino acids, with a prevalence of lysine and methionine, has high concentrations of fiber, contains Omega 3 and Omega 6 and all vitamins of group A, E and some of the B group, it has many mineral salts (magnesium, calcium, folic acid, potassium, zinc and iron) and does not contain gluten.
  5. Coffee and muesli . The ground seeds, on the other hand, enter the hemp coffee blend, while whole and lightly roasted enrich the muesli.
  6. Hemp dressing . The  shichimi tōgarashi has a hemp version: the seven flavors chilli pepper or simply shichimi is in fact a traditional mixture of spices typical of Japanese cuisine used in soups, noodles, white meat dishes and various rice-based dishes, such as cakes, agemochi and crackers. It is made up of seven ingredients: the main one is a type of red pepper called togarashi , mixed with mandarin peel, sesame seeds, poppy seeds, hemp seeds, chopped nori seaweed and Sichuan pepper.

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