A foodie’s guide to a holiday in Toulouse
Eating is usually top of my list of things to do when in a new place, and Toulouse is no exception. The French city is a haven for foodies – so it’s handy it’s got lots of canals and green spaces where I can walk the calories off!
One of the best things about the destination is all of its markets. From flowers and fresh fruit to cheese and crafts, you really can spend hours here browsing all of the different stalls. If you’ve booked into affordable self-catering accommodation, you can whip up an evening feast in your kitchen with all of the ingredients you’ve snapped up.
I love grabbing lunch on the go when exploring a city, and Toulouse’s food markets mean I can spend some time deciding which mouth-watering dish I want to try next and eat it on the way to my next stop.
There are also lots of chic delis that sell amazing ingredients, sandwiches and cakes, so you’re really spoilt for choice when in the city. If you’re a cheese fan, Chez Betty and Fromagerie Xavier are where you should head to, with the latter located at 6 Place Victor Hugo. Should you want to treat yourself – and, after all, you’re on holiday – pick up the brie truffle, which contains truffle paste. This sought-after ingredient really tastes amazing when packed in a piece of cheese!
Toulouse sausage is another delicacy that you should try when holidaying in the city. You’ll probably spot this ingredient quite a bit on menus, and with good reason. The sausage is commonly found in cassoulet, which is a popular stew in the region, while it’s also tasty on its own as part of a relaxed buffet lunch.
I always try and make dishes I tried on holiday when I get back home, and a Toulouse sausage cassoulet certainly looks easy. White haricot beans, onion, chopped tomatoes and a splash of red wine are all it takes to bring out the wonderful flavours of the pork.
Whether you choose to eat it or not, there’s no doubt foie gras has made its mark on the culinary world. I’ve tried it and personally didn’t like the taste of it, but if it’s something you particularly enjoy, you’ll be in your element in Toulouse.
Aside from the food markets, some of the places you can buy some foie gras include Maison Busquets, Maison Samaran and Valette, the latter of which also sells black truffle and gourmet hampers that would make the perfect gift for any foodies you know back home.
I should also mention that if foie gras isn’t for you, duck is a popular meat in the city and the wider region, and you’ll find the chefs here know exactly how to perfectly cook it. If you usually like your meat well done, consider trying your duck a little bit red – it really brings out the flavours and you’ll find the French prefer their meat medium to rare.
Another benefit of coming on a foodie holiday to Toulouse is the choice of restaurants it has to accommodate all budgets. Decide to dine at one of its luxurious hotels or Michelin-starred eateries and you can choose from restaurants such as O Saveurs, Restaurant Michel Sarran, L’Amphitryon and Les Jardins de l’Opera. There are also lots of more affordable venues to dine at with a more relaxed atmosphere – the one you pick depends on your budget and preferences.
If you decide to venture a little further afield to dine at eateries in the surrounding area, getting an air-conditioned rental vehicle in Toulouse can make the journey a lot more convenient and comfortable, affording you plenty of freedom.