With the festive season just around the corner, we invite you to (re)discover one of our varieties that lends itself perfectly to culinary compositions: the vitelotte potato. We’re taking you to one of our producers, Romain Larvor, who has been growing this unusual variety for several years.
The vitelotte, a festive potato
Before heading out into the field, let’s take a look at the characteristics of the vitelotte. Also known as the “Chinese truffle”, this potato is easily identified by its dark, almost black colour and irregular, bumpy shape. When cut, it has beautiful purple hues mottled with white. Unlike other varieties, its colours do not fade when cooked. This is a firm potato that absorbs little fat when cooked. This makes them ideal for crisps and chips. They are also delicious mashed. Cut into slices, they add a decorative and colourful touch to even the most festive menus.
The vitelotte potato, a demanding variety
Imported from Peru by the Spanish in the 16th century, the vitelotte is a potato that is rarely grown in France, yet is highly prized, particularly by restaurateurs.
“It’s a hardy variety. Growing it requires more technical skill than other potatoes”. Romain Larvor, who has been growing Vitelotte since 2017, explains. “I like technical challenges and trying out new things. That’s why I decided to try my hand at vitelotte”.
It takes no less than 160 days of cultivation to finally harvest these precious potatoes. “They are the first to be planted and the last to be harvested. It’s also a variety that’s more susceptible to disease, particularly mildew. Vitelotte can’t be planted everywhere. I often plant other varieties around the edges of the field and in places where the water stays longer. You have to keep a much closer eye on this crop than on other potatoes. A number of growers have tried it and stopped because the yields were not satisfactory.”
Romain also grows spleens, another very demanding potato variety. Like the vitelotte, the spleen represents a niche market. Buyers of these varieties are demanding, and want quality products that are well grown. Romain realised this a long time ago. His farm, which he inherited from his father and grandfather before him, has held the Global Gap label since 2015. On Romain’s farm, rigour and traceability are the order of the day, all year round and for all his crops. So it’s with complete confidence that we offer you these products.
His potatoes are stored in the fridge as soon as they are harvested. This method preserves all the taste and nutritional qualities of the potatoes until the next harvest. Romain’s father joined forces with other neighbouring growers, who were members of the same CUMA, some twenty years ago. Today, it is Romain who manages the farm and its storage facilities.
A family farm, typical of northern Brittany
In 2023, Romain planted 1.5 hectares of vitelotte and 2 hectares of spleen on his farm, which covers a total of almost 130 hectares. The rest of his farmland is used to grow other varieties of potato, as well as maize and cereals, some of which are used to feed his herd of 85 dairy cows. To help him in his work, he has taken on Thomas, a 22-year-old local lad who worked with him on a number of work placements during his studies. At the beginning of the year, another young employee will join the team. Two budding farmers who will be able to learn, alongside Romain, the techniques that will enable them to grow beautiful rate and vitelotte potatoes.