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Flageolet Beans – French Cuisine Ingredient

Known as the “caviar of beans”, flageolet beans are a type of bean that originated in France, sometime in the 1800s (the name “Flageolet” is actually a French name) and is currently cultivated in two main areas in the country - Brittany (north-west of France) and the Nord-Picardy region in France. It is little wonder then, that flageolet beans are considered to be a typically “French” bean, commonly used in French cuisine. It is often served with lamb and there are quite a number of popular flageolet-based French dishes such as “flageolets à la crème” (flageolet with cream), “flageolets au chorizo” (chorizo flageolet) and “gratin de flageolets” (flageolet gratin).

The beans come in a variety of colors and are named accordingly; Flageolet noir (black, “noir” = “black” in French), Flageolet jaune (yellow), Flageolet rouge (red), Flageolet blanc (white) and Flageolet vert (pale green). The last two types, i.e., the white and pale green varieties are the most popular and of these two, arguably the most popular is flageolet vert (the pale green variety), also known locally as “Chevrier vert”.

The fresh beans could be cooked immediately, similar to green peas. The dried beans however would have to be soaked before they are ready for cooking.

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