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Ratte du Touquet potatoes in a heap and covered with soil

The Ratte du Touquet - a vegetable with roots

As is often the case, it is a story of renaissance thanks to passionate producers. The Ratte du Touquet already featured in horticultural manuals in the 19th century. Then it disappeared from consumption habits. In the early 1960s, an engineer from the Versailles species station found a producer in the Le Touquet region who was keen to revive it. The variety boomed in the 80s thanks to the Dequidt family (Touquet Plants) and reconquered epicureans. Small, fragile, fine, and firm, it likes sandy soil, little water, and requires quite a demanding growing process. Seven producers grow this little nugget in compliance with very strict specifications (quality charter).

Small wooden container filled with 1 kg of Ratte du Touquet potatoes
  • Wooden container filled with Ratte du Touquet potatoes
  • © La Ratte du Touquet 

The Ratte du Touquet - a gastronomic product

In Bihucourt, between Arras and Bapaume, Georges Laigle joined the group of Ratte du Touquet producers in 2013. “I consider it important to develop old varieties which are flavoursome. The Ratte is an interesting variety to grow because it is a technical challenge. It is a real source of pride,” he explains. The fine grain of the Ratte du Touquet exudes a delicate chestnut flavour which has seduced great chefs: from Marc Meurin, 2 Michelin stars in Busnes, to William Elliot at the Le Touquet Westminster, as well as Tony Lestienne in Boulogne-sur-Mer, Alexandre Gauthier in La Madeleine-sous-Montreuil, and of course Joël Robuchon - who owes his 3rd Michelin star to his internationally famous Ratte mash - Alain Passard and Guy Savoy. 

Ratte du Touquet potatoes on a table with a knob of butter
  • Ratte du Touquet potatoes on a table, one is embellished with a knob of butter
  • © La Ratte du Touquet 
The Ratte du Touquet is nick-named the “French gherkin” because of its quirky shape.

Cooking tips

Steam-cooking: At medium temperature for gentle steam, 10 - 15 minutes depending on the size. In water: Place the unpeeled potatoes in a saucepan and cover with cold, salted water. Cook half covered for 25 minutes depending on their size (choose potatoes of similar size for even cooking). Pan-fried: Brown the Ratte with their skin at a high temperature for 5 minutes with butter and a little oil in a fry-pan. Lower the heat, add salt and pepper. Cover and leave to cook for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Oven-cooked: Preheat the oven to 180°. Place the Ratte whole with their skin in a dish large enough to avoid them overlapping. Baste with olive oil. Cook in the oven for 40 minutes. Turn over half way through.

Ratte du Touquet - a potato characteristically shaped like a gherkin
  • Ratte du Touquet - a potato characteristically shaped like a gherkin
  • © La Ratte du Touquet 
Ratte du Touquet potatoes in a heap and covered with soil
  • Ratte du Touquet potatoes in a heap and covered with soil
  • © Eric Lebrun - LightMotiv

The Nord-Pas de Calais - a potato-growing region

It is France’s most important potato producing region, with 32% of the national production.

Where can you find the Ratte du Toquet?

In supermarkets, hypermarkets and greengrocers from September to May. Different packaging: 500g or 1kg wooden punnets, 1kg string bags, and 5kg baskets at the greengrocers. 

At Le Touquet Le Touquet market, on the covered marketplace. Chez Brodebeck (greengrocer), 112 rue de Metz. And Touquet Fruits (greengrocer), 101 rue de Metz. 

Wholesale seed and plant production in Montcavrel by the company Touquet Plants.