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Our Field Trip to Le Puy

Our Field Trip to Le Puy

We lentil loving folk at Merchant Gourmet recently took some of our foodie favourites on a field trip to where all the magic happens for the Puy lentil harvest. A staple of the French diet, we wanted to teach our friends about a day in the life of a Puy lentil and what makes it unique to other lentils.

So, what makes Puy lentils stand out from the rest? Grown at high altitude and in unique volcanic soil, they are naturally organic – farmers in Le Puy are limited to using only natural fertilisers, no irrigation and can only plant a field every other year to give the soil a rest. Essentially, Puy crops are left in the hands of the natural weather, exposed to the elements in order to obtain their all-important DOP status (protected designation of origin). All these factors result in much thinner skin on the pulse that makes it easier and quicker to cook (no need to soak before boiling) and much better to digest, whilst retaining a firm texture after cooking.

These precious and delicious tiny lentils are grown in Le-Puy-en-Valey in the region of Auvergne in tiny pods that grow no higher than two feet high. This is where the team was treated to a four-course lentil feast, in the very field they were grown. Four courses of lentil goodness, we’re talking about a lamb confit and lentil tagine and a lentil gazpacho with cream, yes you heard us correctly!

Farmers take a big risk in planting Puy lentils instead of the more traditional green lentils due to the fragility of their growing conditions and the unpredictably of the weather. But the risk pays off when you can sell a great quality, organic, delicious and healthy product! We had the pleasure of meeting some of the very farmers who harvest the Puy Lentil during our trip and it was pleasure to witness their pride and dedication they place  into producing the UK’s favourite lentil.

A great trip was had all around and we’d like to thank Ellen Manning, Angelica Malin, Mondomulia, Thoroughly Modern Milly, East London Mornings and Anna Barnett Cooks for their great company and enthusiasm on our Puy Lentil Field Trip!