The refined Puy Lentils - also known as "Lentilles Vertes du Puy" have been produced in the area of Le Puy en Velay, in the Auvergne region of France, for more than 2,000 years now. This gourmet French product is renowned worldwide for its both culinary and healthy qualities. The Auvergne green Lentils have duly become a classic of Grand Chefs' cuisine and French gastronomy.
Traditionally produced in Auvergne without chemical fertilizers, the Puy Lentils have undeniable nutritive qualities: French Lentilles vertes are naturally tasty and rich in vegetable proteins and fibres. That may explain why so many cooks and housewives in France largely use the so-called "Poors' caviar" to complement their meat dishes rather than potatoes, rice or pastas.
The authentic Auvergne lentils cultivated in the volcanic soils of Le Puy are dark green in colour. They are tiny and fine vegetables that actually require much time and attention from the local French farmers: picking them too early for example would prevent them from ripening properly!
Cooked for only 20 minutes after having soaked for a night, the French lentils offer a delicious, refined flavour. Many gourmet dishes are today garnished with this low-fat culinary jewel, from sea bream fillets to braised pigeon, to the traditional Petit Salé aux Lentilles (lentils with salt meat and sausages flavoured with bay leaves) from the Auvergne region.
Although it is considered as being the "Pearls of Central France", the French Lentille is still a budget gourmet product that French people like to enjoy in salads during summer.
The Puy lentils are often compared to their main rival, Berry Lentils or Du Berry Lentils. Indeed, the same variety of green lentils is also produced in that Central region of France, but Berry lentils were granted the "Red Label" whilst Lentils du Puy received the AOC French Quality Label.
In the Auvergne region, only 88 areas have been allowed to name their lentils “Lentilles Vertes du Puy AOC" since 1996.
Like many other French food specialities, Puy Lentils benefit from the protection of a brotherhood, "La Verte Confrérie de la Lentille du Puy" (the Puy Lentil's Green Brotherhood), that organizes feasts, gatherings and meals to celebrate the renowned vegetable.