Saturday, April 22, 2017

Haricot Tarbais – The Bean from Tarbes is one of France’s Favorite Beans. The Haricot Tarbais on French Menus.

from
Behind the French Menu
by
Bryan G. Newman
   
 
The Haricot Tarbais

The Haricot Tarbais Bean

The Haricot Tarbais bean, like all beans, was discovered in South America and brought back by the conquistadors. The area around the town of Tarbes is called the Commune of Tarbes and it is a very important farming community in the department of the Hautes-Pyrénées in the new super region of Occitanie. In Tarbes, they have been selecting and improving on this strain of imported bean since the 18th century.  The dried white Haricot Tarbais was, in 1997, the first dried bean to be awarded the Label Rouge, the red label, for its unique and consistent quality.




Buy the Haricot Tarbaise in the supermarket.

Photograph courtesy of the Cooperative Haricot Tarbais.
   
If you are close to Tarbes during the picking season, from Mid-August to October, it is worth visiting the town for many excellent and tasty reasons that include the fresh bean. Elsewhere in France, the Tarbes bean will still be on your menu but then it will be the rehydrated dried white bean.  The town of Tarbes has a population of 47,000 and is one of the oldest communities in France; continually settled for at least 1,500 years.

The Haricot Tarbais on French Menus:

Bar De Ligne, Purée De Haricots Tarbais, Jus Au Pécharmant, Rouelle d’Oignon Doux Des Cévennes Wild European Sea Bass served with a Tarbais Bean puree prepared with a sauce from the Pécharmant wines (wines from the North East of Bergerac) and onion rings from the AOP Sweet Onions of Cevennes.
  
Roast lamb with Tarbais beans
 
Pécharmant is an Appellation d'Origine Contrôlée, AOC/AOP wine produced in the hills to the North-East of the town of Bergerac, in the Dordogne-Perigord in France's South-West in the new super region of Nouvelle Aquitaine.  (The new region of Nouvelle Aquitaine includes the old departments Aquitaine, Limousin, and Poitou-Charentes. The change was made on 1-1-2015 when France reduced the number of mainland departments from 22 to 13).
   
Souris d'Agneau à l'Échalote Confite, Purée de Haricots Tarbais Lamb shank prepared with a shallot jam and served with a puree of the Tarbais beans.
   
Tarbais beans with quinoa

Coques et Haricots Tarbais en Salade  - Cockles, that popular member of the clam family served in a salad with the Tarbais Beans.

La Dorade Croustillante, Mousseline de Haricot Tarbais, Palourdes, Piment Doux -  Crisply cooked Gilthead Sea Bream served with a moose of Tarbais beans, clams, and sweet peppers.
   
The Confrérie of the Haricot Tarbais.
  
Carré de Porc des Montagnes Braisé au Jus et Haricots Tarbais -  A braised pork chop from the pigs raised in the mountains and cooked with their natural cooking juices and the Tarbais beans.
   
Tarbais is the center of one of France’s major agricultural centers.
   
So much is grown and raised within the area of the Commune Tarbais that they have their own annual agricultural exhibition every March.  Within the Hautes-Pyrénées department of Occitanie, where Tarbes is situated they also raise the famous Mouton Barèges-Gavarnie AOC, the only AOC mutton in France. The local farmers also raise the Label Rouge, red label, Blonde de Aquitaine cattle as well as other breeds for both beef and milk. Apart from beans, mutton, and beef, you will also find on local menus the pork and ham from the unique Porc Noir Gascon pigs. These Black Gascony Pigs also called the Black Pigs of Bigorre, the Noir de Bigorre AOC/AOP pigs, were nearly extinct until brought back from the brink less than thirty years ago.  With the area of Midi-Pyrenees are also the Label Rouge Poultry of Gers, Lauragais, Tarn, and Quercy. Tarbes is also not at a loss for many other fruits and vegetables, from potatoes and lettuce to tomatoes, clémentines, and lemons; Tarbes supplies much more than just beans to the rest of France.  In local restaurants expect fresh farmed trout as well as wild trout from local rivers and streams. 

The website of the Tourist Information Office of the city of Tarbes is in English if you click on the British flag as you enter the site:

 
The cheeses produced around Tarbes include:
 Bleu des Causses AOP,
 Tomme des Pyrénées IGP.
   
Roquefort Cheese,
There are many restaurants in and around Tarbes with excellent chefs and most with prices that are half those be found in the big cities.  Local wine lists include the Madiran AOP red wine and the uniquely named Pacherenc du Vic-Bilh Sec AOP, a dry white wine. Both these wines are grown around outside the small village of Madiran which itself is just 12 km (7.5 miles) away from Tarbes. 
   
The lemons of Tarbes
https://www.flickr.com/photos/10699036@N08/2112930127/
  
 If you are visiting the area around Tarbes and are interested in food products in general and the products of Tarbes, in particular, visit the Halle Brauhauban with its daily morning food market. Also of interest may be the Grand Marché, the grand market; here in the Place Marcadieu, they have a flea market every Thursday morning and farmers' markets twice a week.The local Tourist Information office will supply days and hours.
  
The market at Halle Brauhauban.
   
For visitors to the area, the pilgrimage town of Lourdes is just 50 km (31 miles) away.  In the winter Tarbes and Lourdes are both fully booked as they are short distances from important skiing areas. The city of Tarbes is close to the Parc National des Pyrénées. The website of the National Park of the Pyrenees is in French but easily understood using the Google or Bing translate apps:

 
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Bryan G. Newman
  
Behind the French Menu
Copyright 2010, 2017

For information on the unpublished book behind this blog contact Bryan Newman
at

behindthefrenchmenu@gmail.com