The plateau where Pardailhan is situated stands at an altitude of 800 meters above sea level, though it is just 40 kilometers from the Mediterranean. Although vineyards and olive groves are common to this region, the plain of Pardailhan is surrounded by pastures where cows and sheep graze and there are oak and beech forests thick with wild boar.
The quality of the Pardailhan Black Turnip has been celebrated for centuries, and at the end of the nineteenth century, it was sold at high prices at international fairs. After the Second World War, however, local agriculture slumped and the cultivation of these tubers declined. Only a few producers have conserved the tradition of growing Pardailhan Black Turnips and sell them exclusively in local markets in nearby towns like Béziers, Saint-Pons, and Narbonne.
Pardailhan Black Turnips are ‘broadcast-seeded’ at the beginning of August on well-worked land with one kilo of seed per hectare and left to wait for rain, which usually comes in the second half of the month. In autumn, the region’s rain and heavy fog are very favorable for the turnip’s growth: in Pardailhan it is said that the turnips ‘drink from their leaves.’ The farmers then handpick the turnips, starting in early November and ending in January.
Pardailhan Black Turnips are white inside, black outside and covered with numerous small roots. They can be recognized by the red clay residue that sticks to their skins. The Pardailhan Black Turnip is a variety called Caluire Long Black, named for its region of origin to the north of Pardailhan.
The Caluire Long Black has been acclimatized to Pardailhan for over a century (although seed stocks are regularly reinvigorated), and its flavor is considered unique thanks to the region’s climate and soil. Pardailhain Black Turnips are beautifully tender with a subtle, sweet flavor, and must always be sliced lengthwise, following the root’s natural fibers. They can be grated raw and tossed in a vinaigrette, fried in goose fat and a little sugar, or prepared in soups and gratins.
Various Communes on the Pardailhan plain, Province of Hérault, Languedoc-Roussillon Region
Syndicat Navet du Pardailhan
tel. +33 (0)6 65 41 92 49
Tel. +33 467976544