It's December, and once again, a rare harvest is celebrated in the small town of Sta. Rita. The cool December air signals the start of the annual Duman season. The rich rice fields of Pampanga normally yields a bountiful harvest of regular white rice at least three times a year. But the rare green rice often called "green gold", can only be harvested in December, and in such limited quantities.
A farmer can usually harvest around 300 cavans or sacks of the regular white rice for every hectare, but only around 4 cavans of duman, an extremely low yield. This limited annual harvest adds to the mystique of Duman, driving up its price to as high as thirty to forty times the price per kilo of regular rice. The rarity of this unique green rice makes it a much sought after delicacy, and for those in the know, sourcing such a rare product is almost as tedious as producing duman.
The young kernels of rice that don't fall off the husks are colored green, requiring a delicate and labor intensive process to extract the kernels. And for generations, the process remains unchanged. The soft, chewy grains have a subtle sweetness and nuttiness like no other, and having green gold in December has always been a family tradition.
Many have their own unique way of enjoying the rare green rice, including elaborate sweet rice cakes. But I've always enjoyed duman in the simplest and purest way, with a rich, thick cup of hot Spanish chocolate.
Simply add a few hefty spoonfuls of green rice to a cup of hot chocolate, and then, sit back and wait for at least ten minutes. And this is the hardest part, but definitely worth the wait. The soft, young grains absorb the rich chocolate, and slowly expands. And then, its ready. A spoonful of duman then bursts with the rich chocolate flavor, enhanced by the natural nutty and chewy texture of the young grains. And duman just makes every Christmas a little more special.
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