Lamon beans are borlotti beans which have been grown in the high Lamon and Sovramonte plains near Belluno, a region of Veneto bordering Trentino; they thrive in this dry, windy climate and fertile soil, confined between the deep canyons and majestic peaks of the Dolomites.
The Lamon bean presents in four varieties, all grown by small farmers in these highlands, and now boast Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) status. The Spagnolit is the smallest, most suitable for salad; the Spagnolon is bigger and oval in its shape, suitable for both salads and soups; the Calonega, has a livelier red color, perfect for soups; and finally the Canalin, very dark and oval, it has the thickest peel, best for vegetable purèe. In general, Lamon beans are large and round, with an off-white color with bright red streaks. They have a thin peel, and tender pulp with a delicate flavor that makes it much sought-after.
Originally from South America, in 1530 Pop Clement VII gave Brother Pietro Valeriano, a monk from Belluno, some “American” seeds received as a gift from the Court of Spain. The new crop was initially regarded with some skepticism by the Feltre peasants, due to the belief that dry legumes were hard to digest. But by the 18th century, it was well-established in the local cuisine, know as the “poor people’s meat”. In 1993, a Consortium for its protection was created and in 1996 earned it’s PDO designation, and now is recognized as an important ingredient in local dishes and as part of a balanced diet.