With more and more people turning to a plant-based diet, Merchant Gourmet has revealed a 42.3% rise in sales of its Puy lentils during lockdown (compared to the same 16-week period in 2019)1. With these ingredients proving a lockdown staple – both for their store cupboard longevity and health credentials – it’s time the nation understood the ins and outs of this ubiquitous ingredient, and most importantly the king of lentils, the Puy lentil.
Championed by chefs around the world for having a superior texture, this illustrious ingredient can be used in a variety of different dishes. What’s more, Puy lentils are frequently used as a meat alternative, proving a great option for those following a flexitarian diet. As well as being high in protein and fibre, they also count towards one of your five a day.
Many people would be surprised to know that the humble Puy lentil actually holds the same designation of origin status (PDO) as more indulgent foodstuffs such as champagne and Iberico ham. Farmers in Puy-en-Velay pass their knowledge down through generations, following tight regulations such as not growing Puy lentils on the same plot for two years, not using pesticides and no irrigation, making its harvest completely reliable on the weather.
What makes the Puy lentil so unique though is not just its provenance but also its flavour. Unlike the traditional lentil, the mineral rich soil, or the terroir offers incredible gastronomical benefits, including peppery notes and a delicate but firm bite. Puy lentils also have a delicate thin membrane, caused by the growing conditions, which prevents them from maturing fully, meaning they cook faster than most other lentils and won’t lose their shape or texture during cooking.
Having played host to numerous volcanoes, the Puy-en-Velay region has been left with a mineral rich soil and along with its Mediterranean climate it has, for over 2,000 years created the perfect growing condition for the Puy lentil.
Available in ready to eat and dried varieties, Merchant Gourmet has your Puy lentil needs covered.