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Jan 14, 2009 02:37 PM

Local source for tarbais beans?

Some friends and I are planning to make a classic cassoulet and we're ready to fork over the big bucks for 2 lbs of French tarbais beans. The problem is finding them. Gourmet Laurier used to stock surperb tarbais -- artisanal, organic, harvest-dated, packed in net bags -- but had only boxed cocos and lingots when I checked last week. Any recent local sightings or suggestions of where to look? Thanks!

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  1. Atwater market, the little butcher that sells mostly duck and duck accessories. :)
    Between the sausage mongers and the organic butchers. Sorry, can't remember the name of the place.
    I got mine there when I last made cassoulet.

    1. Checked all the butchers and other stores in Atwater Market this afternoon and found nary a tarbais.

      If anyone has another idea, we'd much appreciate hearing it.

      2 Replies
      1. re: carswell

        If you are willing to travel to the South Shore, sometimes the stores at Marche Village (on Taschereau, in Brossard) have them. I've seen them at Marche Vittoria (the fruit store at Marche Village): they are usually near the squash. Or else at the "en vrac" store. Not quite sure about the quality though.

        1. re: snap32

          Ok, scrap what I just said. I checked today and they didn't have any tarbais beans left. Who knew they were so popular?

      2. After much searching we found Label Rouge manually harvested *haricots tarbais* from Tarbes at Boucherie du Marché, the shop just east of Chez Louis at Jean Talon Market. Imported by Sélection Philippe Mollé for Alicom. A 500-g bag costs $14.99. Ouch.

        1. We're once again on a quest to find tarbais beans.

          Atwater and Jean Talon markets appear to be tarbais-free zones. Les douceurs du marché, which assured us it could order some, now says they're not even listed in their wholesale catalogues. Gourmet Laurier is tarbaisless. The phone number for Alicom, the local distributor of the beans we bought last year, is out of service. Marché Transatlantique says they may have some eventually but won't be able to confirm for at least another month.

          If anyone knows of a local source or even an online source that ships to Canada, we'd much appreciate your sharing the info. Thanks!

          2 Replies
          1. re: carswell

            Boucherie Atlantique comes to mind as a possible source...

            1. re: FoodNovice

              Don't recall ever seeing them there but will ask. Thanks.

          2. I'm still surprised that "La Dépense" @ JTM does not have some from time to time; probably not exotic enough! :-)

            5 Replies
            1. re: Maximilien

              Me, too. La Dépense was the first place I checked after Gourmet Laurier. The clerks had no idea what I was talking about. Probably not exotic enough is probably right.

              1. re: carswell

                Have you tried calling Maître Boucher on Monkland? They have a lot of French imports - maybe a long shot but might be worth a try.

                1. re: kpzoo

                  Called Maître Boucher and visited Boucherie Atlantique. No luck at either place. But I finally found a source: Marché Transatlantique, which I'll start a separate thread for soon. The beans are Label Rouge brand. The bags bear an "indication géographique protégée" seal and a best-before date of January 1, 2012. Available only in 1-kg bags at $38 a shot (aïe-aïe!).

                  1. re: carswell

                    At that price, it's not really a wonder that they are rare in Montreal. Maybe the crops aren't keeping up either!

                    1. re: TheSnowpea

                      The price is dissuasive, that's for sure. Reportedly there's still a market for them, especially among restaurateurs. Their rarity this year seems mainly to be related to the sale of the former distributor (Alicom).