The first French bean to be granted of Label Rouge, in 1997, Tarbais Beans are famed for their extremely thin skin, which makes them easier to cook and gives them an unbeatable, delicate flavour. It also makes them light on the stomach and easy to digest. The starch content is very low, so they are remarkably tender. They don’t burst during cooking or turn to mush on your plate, but when the time comes, they melt in your mouth to deliver their creamy texture. Delicious ! At cooking, Tarbais Beans have some amazing qualities : they cook 10% to 50% faster* and absorb 10% to 20%* more water* than other varieties. *(Compared with lingot, coco and soisson varieties : study carried out by the Auch CRITT-CTCPA agricultural technology research centre.
The ‘culinary gems’ of Southwest France, Tarbais Beans are acclaimed by the greatest celebrities of French Cuisine as the best of the 224 varieties grown in this country. These days you will find Tarbais Haricots being served in high-class establishments as far away as the USA, Japan, Australia...
The Tarbais Bean's signs of Quality - Label Rouge and IGP
Produced by individual growers, inspected and labelled, all strictly in compliance with the French terms and conditions of production and sale which ensure that the Tarbais Bean is still a traditional local product of outstanding quality. The Tarbais Bean was the first bean to be granted of Label Rouge, in 1997, and in 2000 it obtained IGP status (Indication of Protected Geographical Origin).
The land of Bigorre is known for its light, silt-laden and rather stony soil, with a somewhat acid PH and little clay. Too much clay would thicken the seed peel and make the bean more floury. The plants benefit from the gravel of the Pyrenean mountain streams, which store up warmth during the day and release it during the night.
The type of soil is not enough to explain the distinctive qualities of the Tarbais Bean. In fact, the same seed, grown in identical conditions on very similar soils in other areas (Petites Pyrenees, alluvial terraces of the Garonne...), do not produce the same quality.
Bigorre is where the oceanic influence of the Gulf of Gascony meets the continental effects of the region of Toulouse : the resulting pleasant climate is a determining factor in the character of the Tarbais Haricot. Our area is free from the drying “devil’s wind” (the Autan); instead it benefits from the temperate Föhn, which comes from Aragon and grows gentler as it crosses France.
Major prescriptive conditions for Label Rouge and IGP status
- Production within a defined area (IGP) - Hautes-Pyrenees and neighbouring cantons
- Selection of low-clay and acid soils
- Compulsory soil analysis; plot rotation every two years
- Use of selected and certified seed
- Minimum space of 1.6 m between rows for healthy and sun-drenched plants
- Efficient cultivation : operations carried out in accordance with observed requirements, with emphasis on soil preparation
- Manual harvesting (no machine used) of ripe crop
- Total traceability system ensures beans can be traced to the plot where they were grown
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