The Sweet Prunes of Agen France


California is the source of most of the prunes in this country, but France is the home of the most splendid prune of all – Pruneaux D’Agen from Agen, France. 

When you try one of these for the first time, you realize that not all prunes are the same. Those dried, wrinkly, chewy ones I grew up with are nothing like these, which are a totally different eating experience. 

I’ve been very lucky in my time in the food business to try a lot of food, and in a previous life to have traveled around the world, and there are many foods that are interesting, exciting, delicious and special. But when it comes to food – and travel – Agen, France is at the top of my bucket list - do people still have bucket lists? – to visit for the prune harvest. I don’t have many things on lists, but these prunes have a top spot! 

With their micro-thin skins, they are absolutely melt-in-your-mouth delicious, and just as good for snacking as they are for either sweet or savory dishes, like Bruce Aidells' and Denis Kelly's Braised Pork with Port and Prunes, or rich North African-style tagines, which incorporate warm spices like cinnamon or allspice with prunes and meat, often lamb.