Where would you Find the World’s Most Expensive Potatoes?

Where would you Find the World’s Most Expensive Potatoes?
Representative Image: Agricultural land in France, Photo Credit: Shutterstock

We’ve found an artisanal, one of a kind potato variety off the French coast

Simrran Gill
October 08 , 2020
05 Min Read

Easily available and mostly loved by all, potatoes are probably one of the most dynamic and versatile food ingredients across the world. Baked, fried or mashed, you name it and they'll take on that form readily.

Although potatoes are quite easily available in most places, there exists a variety that can be found only ten days in a year. A rare species of potato, the Bonnotte de Noirmoutie, are found off the French Atlantic coast in the Bay of Biscay. 

This variety goes back to the 1920s when they were brought here from Barfleur in Manche in northwestern France. Acclimatising well to the climate and soil here, they came to be known as the Bonnotte.  

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A post shared by @el_condor__ on May 15, 2020 at 4:55am PDT

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Also one of the most expensive variants, these potatoes are grown only on a tiny strip of land at the Île de Noirmoutier, where the soil is lightweight and very sandy.

This rare species of potatoes has a unique taste—saltier than its counterparts—owing to the soil and fertilisation. The island where these potatoes thrive is blessed with a mild climate and salty air. The soil in which the species are cultivated is light, sandy and rich in seaweed. Additionally, being on the coast it also absorbs the scent of the ocean. 

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A post shared by Antoine Tatin (@antoinetatin) on Jul 24, 2019 at 8:50am PDT

During the autumn season, the farmers collect seaweed from the beaches and use it to fertilise the fields. The unique flavour of the potatoes is said to come from the iodine in the kelp. As per local traditions, the potatoes are planted by hand and then harvested about 90 days later, usually in May, over a period of ten days when over 2,000 pickers get the fresh produce ready. Each potato is sent out the day it is picked. The harvesting method is a laborious task, as they are handpicked and that too one by one. While other crops can be seen well cultivated and spread out on this farmland, the Bonnotte potatoes are found only on 5 percent of the total land. 

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Each year, on the first Saturday of May, farmers here celebrate this special variety of potatoes with great pomp and show. Activities during the festival range from picking the Bonnottes in the field to a treasure hunt and a dinner including the potatoes, alongwith a concert. That's some pomp and show dedicated to a vegetable!

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A post shared by La Bonnotte Catering (@labonnottecatering) on Mar 8, 2020 at 1:32pm PDT

Used for all courses in a meal, from soups to salads to purées, these potatoes lend a rich depth of flavour to everything. While cooking them one needs to be careful to not peel off the skin as it is the skin that retains the saline flavour due to its to exposure to the soil and the ocean. With this variety of potatoes the skin is as important as the flesh, although connoisseurs might argue in favour of the skin.

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