Vendredi Vocab: Farro



Farro (färō, noun) is a food composed of the grains of certain wheat species. The exact definition is debated. It is sold dried and is prepared by cooking in water until soft, but still crunchy (many recommend first soaking overnight). It may be eaten plain, though it is often used as an ingredient in dishes such as salads and soups.

Farro is an ethnobotanical term derived from Italian Latin for a group of three wheat species: spelt , emmer, and einkorn, which are types of hulled wheat (wheat which cannot be threshed). In Italian cuisine, farro is sometimes (but not always) distinguished as farro grande, farro medio, and farro piccolo, respectively. Confusion is generated by the difficult history in the taxonomy of wheat and the colloquial, regional use of the term for specific wheat species, for example emmer grown in the Garfagnana region of Tuscany is known as farro, and can receive an IGP designation (Indicazione Geografica Protetta), which by law guarantees its geographic origin. Emmer is by far the most common variety grown in Italy, in certain mountain regions of Tuscany and Abruzzo. It is also considered to be of a higher quality for cooking than the other two grains and is sometimes called “true” farro. Farro is also sometimes defined as spelt (dinkel in German), specifically distinguished from both emmer and einkorn.

Regional differences in what is grown locally and eaten as farro, as well as similarities between the three grains, may explain the confusion. Barley and farro may be used interchangeably because of their similar characteristics. Spelt is much more commonly grown in Germany and Switzerland and is eaten and used in much the same way, and might therefore be called farro, as is épeautre (French for spelt) in France (where, like for farro in Italy, there is “petit”, “moyen” and “grand” épeautre. Common wheat may also be prepared and eaten much like farro, in which form it is often referred to as wheatberries.

Source: Wikipedia Farro

At the girl & the fig we love farro for it’s nutty flavor, delicate chew, and versatility. We always have a vegetarian entree on our menu and our current dish is so delicious. It’s satisfying and filling with the warm farro, roasted beets, brown butter, and soft poached egg, yet fresh with a little crunch from the radishes and pea tendrils.


Spring Farro topped with baby beets, spring alliums, pea tendrils, a poached egg, and our brown butter vinaigrette.

IMG_0047 Photo credit: Chef Jeremy Zimmerman

Vendredi means “Friday” in French. Each week we add something new to our culinary vocabulary by delving into a word from our menu. We love food, we love words, and we love to learn something new. We also love Fridays.

Happy Vendredi, everyone!

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