The crisp, silver-black turnips of Pardailhan are treasured for their dense, frost white flesh and sweet flavour. When I went to the mountain village in the Haut-Languedoc, it was spring. Wild thyme was in flower and I could hear donkeys braying. In a vegetable garden below the road a handsome gardener in a straw hat was planting the famous vegetable and he told me that if I came back on 15 October I would find him digging them up. These, he said, were the old ones grown by his father and grandfather, with the special taste – other people were growing new varieties that were not quite the same.