VIP MEMBER EXCLUSIVE - Very limited supply
There are many famous beans in the world but few beans are as celebrated as the Tolosa. Basques take their beans seriously but the Tolosa is elevated to an almost religious level. It is so revered that each year the tiny town of Tolosa located in the Basque province of Gipúzkoa, pulls out all the stops for a Babarrunaren Astea, "week of the bean." They even have their own "Brotherhood of the Bean" which produces delicious vats of the iconic Tolosa stew for the festival.
The Atlantic pronounce this legendary legume the most famous bean in Spain a decade ago. Ironically the Tolosa originated in the new world, not Spain or France. It was brought to the region from Venezuela two centuries ago, along with the traditional method of cultivating it with corn.
I'm struck by how similar the Tolosa looks to the heritage Oaxacan black bean from January. They both resemble shiny black beads with a trademark single white spot and they almost too pretty to eat. The difference however is the color. Black beans from Tolosa aren’t actually black. These famous legumes are really a beautiful dark purple and you'll certainly find a few in your bag that are more lavender than black. After the traditional long slow simmer in salted water and olive oil, they’ll be swimming in a velvety purple broth worth lapping up with bits of crusty bread. One bite and you'll see why these buttery delicate beans have become so famous. They are now grown in other parts of Europe but they are nearly impossible to find in the US, even imported. Lucky for you the folks at Boonville Barn Collective are obsessed with all things Basque and we got our hands on a small quantity this year.
WHAT TO DO WITH THEM
Like so much of the best food from Spain, they are traditionally treated very simply. Just water, salt, olive oil and beans simmered low and slow for 3 hours. No garlic, tomatoes, ham hock or even a bayleaf. The instructions are simple. Rinse the beans and cook one pound of beans with 6 cups of salted water and a generous pour of good olive oil. Bring to a boil then simmer for 3 hours until silky and soft. NEVER stir the beans ever or they will break. You can gently shake the pot to check the water level from time to time but no stirring at all. After they are done cooking allow to cool for 20 minutes so that the broth can thicken in to a delicious stew. To complete the iconic Tolosan meal serve them with spanish sausage and cabbage wilted with garlic and olive oil and sprinkled with a bit of Piment d'Espelette.
ABOUT THE FARMERS
Boonville Barn Collective uses sustainable agricultural techniques to produce healthy food without compromising future generations' ability to do the same. Located 100 miles north of San Francisco their farm is Renegade certified.
What started as a way to produce a locally grown Basque chile powder has evolved into a venture focused on building community and growing great spices and beans. They don't grow chiles just because they make our food taste incredible. They grow these chiles and produce value-added products in order to provide their team with better working conditions than conventional farms offer, to pay their team better than other agricultural work does, and so they can ALL be proud of the work they do. We're so proud to support them in the important work they are doing for the community and the planet.