Ottofile (Eight-corned) maize is so-called because of the number of its corn lines – eight – on the corncob. It was also called "meliga del re" because the former king of Italy Vittorio Emanuele II seemed to appreciate it in a special way.
The grain is heart-shaped, flat, smooth and shiny. The color is orange yellow. The cob is white, and in the point where the grains stick to the cob there is a black dot. The taste of the flour is particularly sweet and the smell is intense. But the yield is not high. The harvest is rather late.
When hybrid maize from America, double in yield but lower in quality, was imported to Italy, this autochtonous variety was abandoned and only conserved by some stubborn old farmer in the Upper Langhe hills. Today it can be found in maize flour mixed with other ‘meliga’ (marano, pignolet and quarantina) varieties in the rare mills still using grinding stones in the Langhe hills area. Stone grinding exalts the cereal’s organoleptic features, leaving all of the corn’s parts in the flour.