French Grey or Griselle (grey) or Eschalote Grise are a distinct species, different from all other shallots. They are classified not as A. cepa but A. oschaninii. Originating from SW and Central Asia, A. oschaninii reportedly can still be found in the growing wild in Iran and Afghanistan. Like garlic, shallots were carried by Silk Road travelers and merchants. It’s unclear how their history differentiates from other shallots, or how they became so associated with France. The name shallot, “echalote” in French, is a corruption of Ashkelon, the ancient Palestinian port city in present day Israel. In France they are considered the only “true shallot” and highly sought after. They have thick, rough skin that is nearly impossible to clean (we don’t bother) but the flesh has fine purple rings and its flavor is complex and exquisite. Fresh from harvest it excels raw in salads but as it ages, pungency and acridity intensify, and light sauteing brings out its outstanding flavor. The Griselles will not yield as heavily as other shallots and they have shorter dormancy. They mature a little earlier as well and they will not bolt.