The famous coco de Paimpol was imported from Argentina in 1928. Its name is said to derive from the Aztec ‘ayacotl’. It quickly became popular in the region, as well as being used in the south-west as an ingredient of cassoulet, and it proved particularly useful during the Second World War.
Protected Designation of Origin (AOC) was conferred in 1998, in recognition of its special local status, originality, culinary qualities and taste, as well as the work of its producers. The coco de Paimpol is grown in 84 communes in the Côtes d’Armor, covering an area of 1400 hectares. It was the first fresh vegetable to be awarded Protected Designation of Origin (AOC) status, defined as a precise growing location around Paimpol, Tréguier and Lannion.
As well as AOC status, the coco de Paimpol also holds the AOP European Protected Designation of Origin label.
The coco de Paimpol is semi-dried on the plant, and is easily recognisable by its straw-yellow pod with delicate violet-coloured markings. The beans are white, and of a rounded oval shape.
Sowing takes place in March, and the crop is harvested from July to October, the two busiest months being August and September when the 2000 - 3000 pickers known as ‘plumeurs’ harvest this prized vegetable exclusively by hand.