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January 25, 2006|Amy Scattergood

A required bean for purist cassoulets and other dishes of the French Southwest, the Tarbais is harvested one pod at a time in the Pyrenees and prized for its sweet, mild flavor, silky texture and ability to hold its shape during cooking. Like French wine grapes, the beans are grown in a government-designated region. Tres chic!

Imported Tarbais from Nicole's Gourmet Foods, South Pasadena ($11 for a 1-pound package). Also available at Frenchselections.com, Surfasonline.com, Chefshop.com. Domestic Tarbais available at purcellmountainfarms.com.

-- Amy Scattergood

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