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Vitelotte potatoes are small to medium in size and are elongated and slender, similar to a fingerling potato, and are cylindrical with irregular lumps. The smooth skin ranges from dark purple to deep violet-blue and is speckled with deep-set eyes giving it a bumpy texture. The flesh is smooth, firm, and dense and has a deep purple hue that is occasionally marbled with white. When cooked, Vitelotte potatoes retain their vibrant hue and offer a dry, floury flesh with nuances of chestnuts.
Vitelotte potatoes are available year-round.
Vitelotte potatoes, botanically classified as Solanum tuberosum ‘Vitelotte,’ are known for their vibrant purple exterior and interior. Also known as Truffe de Chine, Négresse, Vitelotte Noir, Black truffle, or Purple potato, Vitelotte potatoes have seen a boom in popularity as a result of research and marketing dedicated to promoting the nutritional properties of purple-hued fruits and vegetables.
Vitelotte potatoes contain vitamin C, iron, B vitamins, potassium, phosphorus, magnesium, folate, riboflavin, phytochemicals, and anthocyanin, a powerful antioxidant.
Vitelotte potatoes are best suited for cooked applications such as boiling, steaming, baking, and frying. Used on their own or along with other potatoes, they make for an excellent potato mash. Unlike some other purple-hued vegetables, Vitelotte potatoes will retain their purple color even when cooked and are best showcased in potato salads or a roast of tubers. Vitelotte potatoes can be cooked and pureed to make purple-hued soups and sauces or fried to make purple chips and crisps. Their dry texture also makes them ideal for making potato pancakes and gnocchi. Vitelotte potatoes pair well with garlic, beets, watercress, parsley, cherry tomatoes, avocado, crème fresh, olive oil, pancetta, white pepper, blue cheese, and balsamic vinegar. They will keep up to three weeks when stored in a cool, dry, and dark place away from moisture and refrigeration.
An early form of the Vitelotte potato is illustrated and mentioned under the name Négresse in Vilmorin-Andrieux’s 1905 book entitled The Vegetable Garden. As the potato gained in popularity in 17th century France as a valuable food source, the royal court also showed their approval by wearing the flowers of the tuber. Louis XVI wore the potato flower on his coat, and Marie Antoinette was known to wear potato flowers in her curls and as part of a headdress when attending balls.
Before receiving the name, Vitelotte, these vibrant purple tubers are believed to have originated in ancient Peru nearly 800 years ago. Their introduction to France is said to have occurred in the 19th century when they were also known as Vitelotte Noir and the Négresse potato. Potatoes fist gained in popularity in France in the 17th and 18th century after the Seven Years War when there was a need for a food source to help reduce post-war famine. Louis XVI granted Antoine-Augustin Parmentier, a botanist and potato cultivator, several acres of land outside of Paris to grow potatoes and once planted he kept the farm heavily guarded. This created a stir in the community as to what valuable crops might be planted there. Strategically one night he left the farm unguarded and just as he suspected local farmers came and stole the plants and began growing them on their farms. Not long after, the potato became accepted as a food source in France and rose to achieve royal approval. Today, Vitelotte potatoes are grown predominately in France and the United Kingdom and can also be found in specialty grocers and farmers markets throughout Europe.
Recipes that include Vitelotte Potatoes. One is easiest, three is harder.
|Apron and Sneakers||Vitelotte Potato Salad with Blue Cheese, Pancetta & Tomatoes|
|Morghew||Vegan Vitelotte Gnocchi|
|The Petite Cook||Potato Gnocchi|