French Le Puy Green Lentils
I’m not superstitious. I just do it every year. On New Year’s Day for a year of good health and prosperity, I eat black-eyed peas and some sort of leafy green vegetable like cabbage. The black-eyed peas represent coins and the cabbage represents greenbacks (dollar bills). Then I bake homemade gold-colored cornbread muffins in hopes the proper New Year’s Day meal will bring more fortune in the year to come.
So every year I head off to the grocery store in my German village in pursuit of black-eyed peas. This year I waited too long and there were no black-eyed peas remaining. None. Nada. In fact, the bean section shelves were empty.
I started to freak out a bit so went home and scoured the kitchen drawers for at least a half bag of black-eyed peas I had brought back from the U.S. I didn’t find a single stinking black-eyed pea but instead, found something even better. A box of caviar, well the caviar of lentils, a box of French Le Puy green lentils.
Show me the Edible Money
I thought I knew my lentils pretty well. I cook with yellow, red, green, and even the fine black beluga caviar lentils. Then I learned about the real-deal; true French Le Puy (pronounced PWEE) green lentils are considered to be the best lentils in the world.
Dark green-grey in color with a blue marbling, French Le Puy green lentils are grown on the rich volcanic soil of a mountain plateau around the French town of Le Puy en Velay in the Haute Loire region. The climate is perfect for lentils with lots of sunshine and less humidity so the lentils dry on the plant. The perfect conditions means cooking French Le Puy will only take about 20 minutes, retain a superior texture, and will reward you with a distinct peppery or nutty flavor.
Look for the AOC Seal of Authenticity
When looking for authentic French Le Puy green lentils you should see an AOC seal on the package, certifying they are true lentilles du Puy. You might be in shock when you see the price (three-four times than normal lentils) and be tempted to buy the cheaper lentil or even an imposter. Don’t hesitate to open the pocketbook a little wider and purchase at least one package of the caviar of lentils, they are so worth it.
So, will eating French Le Puy green lentils bring you a year prosperity? I’m not sure, but I’ll enjoy eating the caviar of lentils anyway.
Every country has their own list of lucky foods. What’s yours?