Tarbais of Lodi Bean
The top bean for bean-lovers, the holy grail of beans, are the haricots Tarbais, grown in the southwest region of France near the Spanish border. Planted in May, then harvested between August and October, haricots Tarbais are hand-picked and commonly used in cassoulet, that rich casserole baked with confit de canard, garlicky Toulouse sausage, sometimes mutton, and topped with oily-crisp breadcrumbs, then baked until dense, rich, and savory.
Tarbias are thought to be the only beans that can stand up to the six-hour cooking time of the French cassoulet dish and, of course, we had to try to grow them in Lodi, California!
Guess what… Chip did grow them, and some of the west coast chefs of some pretty fancy French restaurants are ever so grateful because they are fresher and every bit as good, we think, and at a fraction of the imported cost. Try the recipe and your house will smell wonderful for two or three days!