I had heard of vitelottes potatoes before, and I had seen them used to make stunning potato chips in particular, but I had never seen them sold anywhere. Until recently that is, when I found them at the Gérardmer market — oh what incredible resources this humble little market has to offer.
When raw, the skin of these potatoes was black and rather thin, and the flesh inside was a pale purple, with uneven white flecks. I brushed them with my now famous potato brush, and steamed them for about fifteen minutes, until a knife could easily be inserted through them. The skin had turned a paler grey, while the flesh had gotten a deep shade of purple.
We then ate them quite simply, with just a little salt, to get the full, unperturbed experience of the authentic purple potato taste. I can’t say we detected any particular purpleness of flavor though, they pretty much tasted like m… potatoes. But that’s ok, really, the color alone is enough to make me happy!
And apparently, purple potatoes were the first variety ever grown, some 800 years ago in the Peruvian Andes, by the good people of the Inca empire, who served it as a special royal treat. And since the Peruvians are also the ones who brought ceviche to the world, well, I think a little trip to Peru — or more realistically a Peruvian restaurant — is highly in order!