Some natives of the Arcouest peninsular in Brittany, a landscape dominated by fields, granite cliffs and the sea, still remember a Navy officer named Alban who, in 1928, returned from a voyage to South America with the seeds of what would become the Paimpol white bean. Fishermen's wives planted the seeds in their kitchen gardens, and the bean soon became widely appreciated. This high-energy pulse was eaten dry during the Second World War, and grew in popularity after 1948 when it was eaten semi-dry.
It is still cultivated in the traditional manner. The harvest season extends from July to October, although most of the superbly attractive yellow and mauve pods are hand-picked in late August and early September. When the pod is popped open it reveals its most precious treasure: pearly white beans that are natural, tender and extremely tasty.