La cuisine Toulousaine: what and where to eat in Toulouse
French Cuisine is full of passion, tradition and perfection, and food in the South of France is no exception.
As any other region in France, Toulouse has its own specialties and traditional cooking, and there is a vast array of dishes to sample and top class restaurants to try. Here is a list of our favorites.
What to eat in Toulouse?
Foie Gras, of course, is on this list. And although in France foie gras is considered an important part of French cuisine, it is most strongly associated with the southwest.
Before refrigeration and mass distribution allowed more people to enjoy foie gras, it was consumed mainly in the south-western area and was closely associated with Christmas and New Year’s Eve feasting. Nowadays you can find it in most restaurants either as an entrée or as part of a main dish.
This duck or goose liver delicacy is a MUST when you are in the region and definitely it won’t disappoint you.
One thing I’ve learned while living in the south-west is that duck is a very important regional specialty. It comes in the most various forms, all being delicious: foie gras, confit, dried, magret, grattons, pâté, and many more.
One of our favorites, le cassoulet will certainly satisfy your hunger. Named after the cassole – the traditional deep, round, earthenware pot it is cooked in – this slow-cooked dish typically contains white haricot beans, vegetables, herbs and a range of meats, which in Toulouse means you’re likely to have Toulouse sausages, mutton, goose or duck confit.
Saucisse de Toulouse
Toulouse sausage is a speciality of the south-west that carries a prestigious red label , which means it must meet a strict list of specifications at the time it is made, to guarantee its exceptional quality and flavour.
Consisting of diced pork that has been flavoured with wine, smoked bacon and garlic, it tastes great when fried or braised. You can eat it on its own, although you’re likely to discover it while tucking into cassoulet.
This pretty little flower is typical of Toulouse and can be eaten in various ways. Fresh or in the form of vinegar, it adds an unusual touch to salads. Chefs use it as a condiment or to invent original dishes. Other violet specialities to try include biscuits, crystallised sweets, syrup and honey.
Pavé du Capitole
A praline made with orange or raspberry wrapped in dark chocolate, invented by the Toulouse confectioner René Pillon.
Where to eat in Toulouse?
Proudly bearing two Michelin stars , Michel Sarran is located in the city center of Toulouse. Its magnificent ambience, first class food and great service make it one of the best restaurants in the Ville Rose.
Tip: Try their amazing three course lunch from 51Euros, with wine and coffee included.Michel Sarran
28-42 boulevard Armand Duportal, Toulouse, 31000
Les Jardins de l’Opéra
Chef Stéphane Tournié’s restaurant is very well known in Toulouse for its high quality, mostly organic products and traditional south-western food. You will taste France in every bite.
The restaurant has an attractive inner courtyard crowned with a glass roof and is just a stone’s throw from the Place du Capitole.Les Jardins de l’Opéra
1 place du Capitole (coté rue du Poids de l’Huile), 31000 Toulouse
Marché Victor Hugo
For a better experience of the market, take a stroll around in the morning followed by lunch in one of the five restaurants on the upper level where you will be able to indulge yourself with the delicacies found at the market. Another good option is to buy cheeses and charcuterie to enjoy with a glass of wine in one of the bars at the marché.
Tip: If you are planning on lunch at the market be aware that they accept no reservations and tend to get very crowded as they are very popular amongst locals and tourists.Marché Victor Hugo
Pl. Victor Hugo, Toulouse
What is your favorite specialty Toulousain? Share yours in the comments below!Image Credits:
1. Toulouse, via Wikipedia.
2. Foie Gras by Stéphanie Kilgast via Flickr.
3. Cassoulet by Jonathan Caves via Flickr.
4. Saucisses by Stijn Nieuwendijk via Flickr.
5. Michel Sarran via Arnould.
6. Les Jardins de l’Opera by Helena G via Foursquare.
7. Marché Victor Hugo by Stijn Nieuwendijk via Flickr.