26 February 2016 by Jessica Boston
Discover the Delicious Food of Toulouse
Toulouse is a wonderful city to visit. In the heart of the countryside of South West France it straddles the cultures of France and Spain (indeed Barcelona is just a two hour drive away). With historic architecture, a vibrant culture and Space Age theme parks there are many reasons to pay Toulouse a visit, but surely the best reason to go is to immerse yourself in the wonderful foodie treats this city is famed for.
Cassoulet is the obvious star of the Toulouse culinary show; this traditional dish is a slow cooked stew of duck confit, haricot beans, pork and Toulouse pork sausages. It is rich, unctuous and filling and usually served simply with grated cheese and a glass of robust red wine from the local vineyards. The one pot meal is named after the pottery casserole dish it is cooked in and you’ll find every restaurant has their special secret recipe – try a few to find your favourite!
These famous sausages have already made an appearance in the cassoulet above, but they are also found fried or braised as a meal in themselves. The sausages have a protected status that means the genuine article is only sold in and around Toulouse itself! Made from pork and smoked bacon flavoured with garlic and wine they taste about as French as a sausage can!
Duck and goose
Toulouse cuisine is resplendent with duck and goose; whether it’s a simple pan-fried duck breast, roast goose or confit duck leg the quality of the local produce really shines through. Foie gras is another speciality – these livers from specially bred birds are often made into delicious, rich, smooth terrines or patés.
And something sweet?
After all that meat you might be craving something sweet, and you won’t be disappointed! It is France after all; the patisseries and chocolatiers here are typically full of delicious treats. Specialities of Toulouse include crisp, caramelised almond biscuits called ‘Croquants’, ‘Caraque’ a vibrant green chocoloate tart and ‘Fénétra’ a decadent cake made with marzipan, meringue and candied lemon.
Top 5 “Must-do” food experiences in Toulouse:
- Eat a traditional Toulouse cassoulet – most local restaurants have it on the menu but if in doubt Chez Emile on Place Saint-Georges in the centre is a great place to start.
- Buy souvenirs! Take home locally preserved jars of cassoulet, tins of duck confit and foie gras paté so you can re-live those delicious flavours of Toulouse back at home.
- Visit the wonderful covered market Marché Victor Hugo – marvel at the amazing array of produce then retire to the food court upstairs for a lunch to remember!
- Try one of the Michelin starred restaurants in Toulouse to see how they elevate rustic local tradition to new heights, a visit to Michel Sarran’s restaurant is an exceptional experience.
- Sit at a pavement café in one of the bustling streets or town squares to enjoy a coffee and a delicious slice of ‘Fénétra’ cake as you watch the world go by.