Anson Mills Charleston Gold Rice

Rice out of the history books

The Civil War secrets of the South are not limited to Faulkner novels and history books.

Thanks to Anson Mills, they're also in our bowls–in the form of rice.

The South Carolina-based company has recently begun milling Charleston Gold rice, a new grain based on the Carolina Long rice once prized in Europe and the first cities of the United States.

The Carolina Long was lost during the Civil War. However, an entomologist and agronomist crossed the popular Carolina Gold rice with a basmati-like strain, and, in April 2011, Charleston Gold ($8 for 14 ounces) was born.

The resulting rice is intensely nutty, akin to roasted corn; in addition, storing the rice in a barrel with red laurel for three years coaxes out its undeniable fragrance.

Chefs around the country have quickly taken to Charleston Gold. In its hometown, Charleston, South Carolina, Sean Brock cushions a pork chop on a Charleston Gold bed. At Big Jones in Chicago, Charleston Gold rice is the lifeblood base for horchata, a creamy drink. At Craigie on Main in Cambridge, Massachusetts, chef Tony Maws pairs it with a whole trout cooked sous-vide.

With this Gold, rice really does lead to riches.