Beans from El Barco de Ávila
Judías del Barco de Ávila is the flagship of Castillas y León's pulses, not only because of their quality, which is fully acknowledged, but also because they are guaranteed by the Consejo Regulador (Regulating Council). The farmers that belong to the Indication of Geographic Protection, which contains 45 municipalities, grow seven varieties of beans.
The beans are produced principally around the south-east of the province of Ávila, in the mountains of the Sierra de Gredos and Sierra de Béjar, and more precisely, in the counties of Barco and Piedrahita.
There are seven protected bean varieties, the white round bean is the most well known, and it is distinguished from the rest by its large size and buttery texture. In addition to this bean, there is also a white kidney bean, probably the most popular and commercial variety, which has white flesh. Another two types are the long purple bean and the round purple bean, both with an intense wine colour. The long purple bean is kidney-shaped, long and flat; while the round purple bean is spherical and medium-sized, with 270 beans per 100 grams. One of the smaller beans is the "arrocina" (rice) variety, of a white colour. In addition to these, we find the "planchada", which is a short, flat white kidney-shaped bean. Of a medium size, it measures about 170 beans per 100 grams.
The Judión, indicated by the name itself, is a lot bigger than the other beans. There are three types of Judiones: white, black and jaspeado (speckled).
Despite the differences in shape and size, the common factor is that all these beams remain in an excellent condition after they have been cooked. They are very buttery, mild and delicate in the mouth and, although they retain their skin, you can hardly notice it.
These beans are sold in cloth sacks of about one kilo in shops of the province and in specialised stores throughout Spain, and all bear the quality tag of the IGP de Judías del Barco de Ávila.