Identikit and main features
The bean varieties whic grow in the Cuneo area are the climbing varieties belonging to the Phaseolus vulgaris and Phaseolus coccineus specie; among those there are many types suitable for the production of dry grain known as “dried bean” and others for the production of pods with waxy grains, known as “red bean”. The “Billò” is one of the most suitable varieties for the production of the “dried bean”, its grain is characterised by purplish-brown streaks on a cream background; then we have the ‘Bianco di Bagnasco’ and ‘Bianco di Spagna’ beans, which are completely white. The most important varieties for harvest at the waxy state are the ‘Stregonta’ and the ‘Borlotto’.
Area of production
The area of production includes the bottom-valley and plane areas near the mountains. The cultivation of the “Bianco di Bagnasco” overlaps with the Alta Val Tanaro while the one of the “Bianco di Spagna” corresponds to the hilly areas of the Alta Langa.
The bean was introduced for the fisr time in the Cuneo cultivations at the beginning of the 19th century. Initially the cultivation of this legume spread in Centallo and Caraglio, where its production and selling is witnessed also by some municipal documents of the time. In the ‘50s, after the introduction of the “Fagiolo di Lamon” variety, local farmers selected, year in year out, the types of beans which, today, are considered typically Piedmontese. Between 1961 and 1971 thanks to the great expansion of this legume in the neighbouring areas, were created many new markets, which still today are a point of reference for producers: Valgrana, Roccavione, Boves, Caraglio, Centallo and Castelletto Stura.