La Lentille Verte du Puy
Le Puy green lentil is a cultivated variety of green lentil, only grown in Haute Loire region, in Auvergne, south central France. Any lentil grown outside the designated area, cannot authentically, be called Le Puy Green Lentil. The lentil is named after Le Puy-en-Velay, which is the largest town and capital of Haute Loire. Le Puy Lentils are sometimes referred to as the ‘green pearl” ‘green gold” or “vegetable caviar” by the French.
Le Puy lentils are small, green and mottled blue, due to presence of anthocyanins, the pigments responsible for blue colour in blueberries or red grapes. (lentil vert du Puy)
They retain their shape during cooking and are considered to be the tastiest of all the lentil varieties. (FAO.ORG)
AOC and PDO
In 1996, Le Puy green lentil was the first vegetable to obtain an AOC (appellation d’origine contrôlée) and in 2008, Le Puy lentil, already a recipient of AOC, obtained the European, PDO (Protected Designation of Origin.) This means that in the European Union, the name ‘Le Puy Green Lentil’ can only be used to designate lentils grown from designated areas in Haute Loire, Auvergne, France. This protection also ensures that consumers buy an outstanding product whose gastronomic qualities come from the designated terroir. All packages must be certified and affixed with an AOC seal. ( Lentil Vert du Puy)
French Style Lentils in Canada
In Canada, French style lentils are grown in Saskatchewan, and are marketed under the name French green lentils. They are similar to Le Puy green lentils but cannot be marketed as such because they’re grown out of the Haute Loire region in France.
Protected Designation of Origin (PDO)
Authentic Le Puy Green Lentils can only be cultivated by authorized producers, in the designated areas in Haute Loire, under designated conditions and must have an AOC seal, affixed to the package.The designated conditions include the following (Lentil Vert du Puy)
- The appellation area is limited to 87 municipalities in the volcanic mineral rich soils of Haute-Loire, in Auvergne. The lentil must be grown sorted and packaged exclusively in the designated areas. The rich volcanic soil of the region gives the lentils a unique flavour. (Lentil Vert du Puy)
- Le Puy green lentil must only be grown from Certified Seed.
- Mandatory crop rotation must be implemented as specified
- Fertilizer use is strictly prohibited
- Irrigation is strictly prohibited
- Humidity must be controlled and checked, as specified.