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France: Red onions from Toulouges
Whoever was on holiday in France probably saw them hanging on the market: the red onions from Toulouges. Large onions with a flat round shape and a ruby red skirt. The onions, famous in the whole of Southern France originally came from the town of Toulouges, close to Perpignan. The red and sweet onions have probably grown in this region from the end of the 19th century, where they became popular very quickly and are much loved up to the present day.
But there are still only three growers in the
Pyrénées-Orientales. The cultivation of the onions takes a lot of time and attention. The largest producer of the Toulouges-onions is Yves Roca, who markets from 100 to 150 tons of onions annually. Yves explains: "The fields are weeded by hand, so that the onions do not suffocate and to prevent parasites. After that they are pulled from the soil one by one by hand and the leaves removed. Then the onions are sold in bunches of 3 or 4 or in strands of 3.5 to 4 kg. To make these strands is quite an art. It is therefore not surprising that these onions are rather expensive: on the market a kilogram, which is about 15 onions, cost Euro 2.50 to Euro 3.00.
There are many different sizes: large (500 - 600gr/each), average (300 - 400gr/each) or small. In general the larger the onion the sweeter the taste. The onion can easily be stored for three or four months in a dry and cool area. The fragrant and sweet onions from Toulouges are especially delicious raw in salads.
But they are also nice when fried with meat and herbs.
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