In a few short years, our company has gone from distributing 50 tonnes of traditional shallot plaits per year to 500–600 tonnes. Among other benefits, this growth has firmly established Pouliquen as the European leader in traditional shallot distribution. In northern Brittany, shallot plaiting has been underway for a month or so. This 150-year-old technique is specific to our region, and has many advantages. To mark the beginning of this new season, let’s take a closer look at this remarkable product.
Plaited traditional shallots: a guarantee of premium quality
All shallot plaits are created by hand from beginning to end. The care we take in sorting all our vegetables is enhanced by an extra level of quality control when it comes to plaited shallots. Employees check the appearance and quality of every single shallot before including it with other bulbs in a plait, reducing to practically zero the chances of a damaged shallot being included in a plait.
Produced in Brittany from A to Z
All of the shallots included in our plaits are produced by our Prince de Bretagne partner growers. These vegetables meet strict specifications which guarantee their quality and traceability. We use the long shallot (a specific variety of traditional shallot) in our plaits, which are made up of medium-sized shallots (30–45mm). Plaiting begins after August 15th and continues until May, when summer vegetables come into season. To preserve all their nutritional value and attractiveness, we store shallots in ventilated, room-temperature spaces until January or February. After this time, alliums are refrigerated at between 0 and 1°C.
Plaited shallots: 100% hand-made
It’s not exactly haute couture, but the creation of this entirely hand-made product is still deserving of admiration. From the selection of each bulb to the packaging of the plaits, every step in the creation of our plaited shallots is carried out by hand. It takes 2 minutes to create a single shallot plait. Added to this is the time required to enclose the plait in its net bag and add the cardboard label, also by hand. Pouliquen entrusts shallot plaiting to two long-term local partners, a grower in Cléder and the agricultural co-op Stereden, located in Plounévez-Lochrist
Packing and packaging with natural materials
For this new season, Pouliquen has decided to offer products packaged with 100% natural materials. Shallots are held in place on a wooden stick with jute or hemp string, which replaces the synthetic raffia used until now. We have also replaced plastic net bags with wood-cellulose net bags. Besides the obvious ecological benefit of such changes, these new packing methods allow us to offer a finished product that meets the expectations of a premium-quality product
Why plait shallots?
We owe this packing method to the Johnnies. Beginning in the mid 19th century, these onion and shallot growers from the Leon* region of northern Finistère crossed the Channel each summer to sell their produce in England. They plaited their onions and shallots not only to make them more attractive, but to facilitate their transport… over the handlebars of their bicycles! The technique rapidly spread throughout the agricultural regions of northern Brittany, where it continues to be used today. Besides the aesthetics and historical significance of plaiting, it naturally discourages sprouting and therefore extends the shelf life of the shallots: just one more advantage of this exceptional product
Our sales team is available to answer all your questions about plaited shallots or any of our other products. Let us know what you’re looking for!
*The inhabitants of Léon, part of North Finistère (29) which corresponds to the market garden area of the department. Historically, the port of Roscoff, a few kilometres from Pouliquen’s headquarters, provided regular crossings to England.