The Coco de Paimpol is a variety of bean, presented in pods, that has benefits from protected designation or origin status since 1998, but has been grown in Brittany since at least the 1920s. Grown around the town of Paimpol, in northwestern part of the Côtes d’Armor department on the coast of northern Brittany (northwestern France), the bean was first brought to be cultivated in France by a sailor in the French navy coming back from Argentina. During World War II, the bean helped to feed the area’s inhabitants while the region suffered from famine. Since then, the production has spread and stabilized at around 8,000 tons per year.
The Coco de Paimpol is a white, “semi-dry” bean, easily recognizable by it light yellow to white color and the soft purple marble coloration on its surface. The seeds are white with an oval, almost round shape. Its culinary qualities and its originality, including required hand harvest of the pods, justified it being the first vegetable to obtain protected designation of origin status in France, which it obtained in 1998.
Rich in fiber and vitamin B5, the Coco de Paimpol also contains plenty of vitamin B1 and iron. It is rich in proteins, with 100 grams of beans containing 100 calories. Harvest is done exclusively by hand. From July to the end of October, with a peak in production around the end of August, the collection brings together pickers who are known by the name “plumeurs” (“pluckers” in English, due to the resemblance between the gestures required when picking these beans and plucking a chicken). Coco de Paimpol is often enjoyed cooked simply with butter or olive oil, alongside white fish, or with lamb.