French leeks (poireaux) developed over the centuries from the wild leek, creating a vegetable with more tender white flesh and less tough green leaf, with a sweet-savoury and not pungent taste. Sometimes you can just buy the white bits, blancs de poireau.
The poireaux de Créances are among the best, grown since the 13th century in Normandy, where they are fertilized with seawood.
Leeks are one of the stars in pot au feu and in Breton buckwheat galettes with scallops (galette de Saint-Jacques et fondue de poireau) or salmon. Fondue aux poireaux is made by cooking leeks in butter until they are meltingly tender, then adding crème fraîche and maybe a bit of lemon juice.
Image by liz west