The Castelnaudary bean is a white dry bean of the Phaseolus vulgaris species with an ivory white color. It has a large grain with a kidney shape which rehydrates which, once cooked, allows it to be soft and melting in consistency, while maintaining its shape and its skin. It was introduced by Catherine de Medicis in the Lauragais area, which was already known for its soil fertility. It is a staple of the local diet since the 18th century. The Castelnaudary bean remains today well-sought out by restaurants and chefs, particularly for the central role it plays in the traditional French Cassoulet recipe.
The area of production is in the western part of the Aude département in southern France, with the town of Castelnaudary at its heart. Its environment is characterized by plains and sedimentary hills. At the crossroads of Atlantic and Mediterranean influences, the temperatures are warm in the summer and mild in the winter, with strong winds that dry out the landscape.
All of these unique conditions combined mean that these particular beans are inextricably linked to their landscape of the production and irreproducible in other locations. In recognition of this as well as of the time-tested traditional savoir-faire of its producers, Castelnaudary bean was recognized as one of the newest products to be protected by geographical indication status as of December 2020.