Ah, France. A country which is so well known for its food that it has influenced Haute cuisine all across Europe and even the world. It would be sacrilege to visit any town or city in France and not make the most of its amazing culinary offerings.
Toulouse is often referred to as ‘the heart of French comfort-food country’, with classic dishes including hearty casseroles, potatoes drizzled in goose fat, garlic smothered sausages and daringly sweet pastries.
Here’s what to eat in Toulouse France:
If there’s one dish you have to try in Toulouse it’s the cassoulet, a slow-cooked white haricot bean casserole with meats including Toulouse sausage and duck confit. Cassoulet is undoubtedly the city’s most iconic dish, and therefore giving it a try is an important part of experiencing the culture and history of the ‘pink city’.
Where to try it: Le Colombier, Le Bibent
Asides from being a key ingredient in the local dish of cassoulet, Toulouse sausage is a prominent player in many other local dishes or can simply be enjoyed on its own.
The pork sausage contains smoked bacon, garlic, nutmeg, thyme and red wine, with a rich and distinctive flavour. The Toulouse sausage even has a protected AOC (appellation d’origine contrôlée) status so can only be produced in this particular region of France and has to adhere to traditional methods of production. Another unique local experience!
Duck and Goose
Although duck is a popular dish that you’re likely to find on menus all across France, Toulouse and the surrounding southwest region is most strongly associated with this type of cuisine.
You’ll find all types of dishes featuring duck in Toulouse’s restaurants, such as Duck à l’orange, roasted duck with a bigarade sauce, Civet de Canard, duck slow-cooked in red wine with vegetables, and Duck Terrine.
Where to try it: Mare aux Canards
Similar to the above, goose is another popular meat in Toulouse. You’ll likely find goose confit on many restaurants menus, whilst potatoes roasted in goose fat is a delicious and popular comfort food.
The southwest of France is known for producing some of the best Foie Gras in the whole of France, making Toulouse a great place to give it a try.
Foie Gras is made from the liver of specially-fattened duck and geese. It is often eaten with bread and accompaniments such as fruit preserves and sauces.
Where to try it: There are often questions about the methods used to fatten the animals used to produce foie gras, however, visit Market Victor Hugo and you’ll find ‘Papaix et Fils’ which is well known in the city for its ethical treatment and delicious foie gras.
A tasty traditional Toulousian cake containing almond meringue, apricot jam and candied lemon.
These days, the cake is probably more popular with tourists than locals, however, it is an important dish in Toulouse’s history. The dessert has been a part of the city’s heritage dating back to Roman antiquity. It was then consumed during the Day of the Dead, better known as the Feretralia Festival (hence the dish’s current name).
Where to try it: Le Fénétra (yes a cafe with the same name)
When in France, don’t miss the opportunity to get your hands on a mouth-wateringly delicious freshly baked baguette.
You’ll know it’s freshly handed baked by the pinched charred ends.
Where to try it: Maison Beauhaire Boulangerie in Market Victor Hugo – an iconic award-winning bakery.
Although the official number is widely debated, many people claim that there are between 1,000-1,500 distinct types of French cheese! While it would be crazy to think you’d be able to try them all, it’s only right to try to fit in tasting as many as possible, right?
Where to try it: Fromagerie Emilie, Market Victor Hugo
Do you ever need an excuse to eat good chocolate?
Where to try it: Criollo Chocolatier
Toulouse, and the whole of France for that matter, is a country known for its pastries, but these little balls of joy are my personal favourite. Puffy choux pastry filled with creamy fruity fillings, small enough that you don’t fill bad eating a few too many in one sitting.
Where to try it: Elenore, Market Victor Hugo
Anything Violet Flavoured
The violet is one of the emblems of Toulouse, and you’ll find it all over the city being used in everything from baking to perfume. In February, the city even hosts a beautiful violet festival (don’t miss it if you’re visiting during the festival).
There are loads of violet flavoured treats to enjoy in Toulouse, including violet sweets, violet ice-cream and even violet liquor. Just keep your eye out in shops and restaurants.
BONUS: French Tacos
I do feel like I might get a good telling off by locals or real food connoisseurs for this one, but I’m going to include it anyway. During my trip to Toulouse, I discovered the French taco for the first time and… well, wow!
Firstly, I need to point out that it is NOTHING like a traditional taco at all.
French tacos are more of a flat grilled tortilla filled with fries, cheese, meat and sauces of your choice.
An extremely filling fast-food dish which I can’t wait to make an appearance in the UK (any recommendations let me know!)
Where to try it: My first French taco experience was at Toulouse’s fast-food chain ‘Taco Avenue’. If you’re looking for a quick, cheap and super tasty meal, this isn’t one to miss!