Article written by Elisa - Travel Writer & Local in France
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Article written by Elisa - Travel Writer & Local in France
Local Food in Toulouse (and Occitanie region)
Nicknamed ‘La Ville Rose’ (“the Pink City”) for the many pinkish buildings, Toulouse is a gorgeous city on the banks of the Garonne River, the capital city of the Occitanie region.
Besides its striking architecture, Toulouse has many things to do and see: historical landmarks, beautiful green spaces, and vibrant nightlife.
If there is one thing you need to do during your stay in Toulouse, it is to try its interesting local dishes. So here’s a list of the most popular food in Toulouse (and Occitanie food).
Toulouse Food You Need to Try
What to eat in Toulouse? Check out this Toulouse food guide, with the best food in Toulouse and the Occitanie region – famous Toulouse dishes, cheeses, desserts, and other regional specialties. The descriptions will help you decide whether to try these Toulouse food specialties.
1. Saucisse de Toulouse
A typical food in Toulouse, the Saucisse de Toulouse is a pork sausage (75% lean, 25% belly) flavored with only salt and pepper. It’s made in one long continuous casing and not in links.
Trademarked, the “real thing” always comes with the label ‘Véritable Saucisse de Toulouse.’ Treat yourself to the best Saucisse de Toulouse by eating the ‘Label Rouge’ product, which indicates the higher meat quality.
The Saucisse de Toulouse is simply served grilled alongside a salad, or fries, or is eaten as one of the main ingredients in a Cassoulet.
Cassoulet is one of the most popular foods in the Occitanie region. A staple of the countryside cuisine, this dish is nowadays present in the best Toulouse restaurants.
It’s a rich and hearty meal cooked in the “cassole,” a terracotta casserole pot that is what renders this dish as comforting as a hug. Cassoulet is made of white beans and a mix of meats, usually pork and different types of sausages. The fancier version of this Occitan food has duck or goose instead of pork.
Cassoulet is an original recipe from Southwest France, and three cities compete for its invention – there is a real rivalry between Castelnaudary, Carcassonne, and Toulouse, so you will find three versions of the “traditional way” of preparing Cassoulet!
3. Foie Gras
The ultimate French gourmet specialty, Foie Gras, is a regional delicacy. The most popular version is made from specially fattened ducks, whose livers turn into this buttery ingredient that melts in your mouth.
Traditionally consumed on special occasions and festivities in France, such as Christmas, nowadays you will find Foie Gras served in many restaurants.
While in Toulouse, make sure to try goose Foie Gras, which is particularly smooth and delicate.
Eaten as an appetizer, Foie Gras is usually served pan-seared accompanied with gingerbread, fig jelly, or onion chutney. You can also enjoy Foie Gras as a mousse or terrine.
4. Poulet à la Toulousaine
A must-try dish of Toulouse cuisine is the Poulet à la Toulousaine, a roasted chicken made delicious by the addition of Saucisse de Toulouse.
Before being cooked, the chicken is stuffed with the sausage alongside green olives, garlic, and herbs (thyme and bay leaf). Incredibly juicy from the cooking method, the chicken is extra flavorful thanks to a generous drizzle of olive oil and cognac before the end of the cooking.
The Poulet à la Toulousaine is a Toulouse food eaten as a main dish and perfectly pairs with a glass of red wine.
A traditional soup typical of the Pyrénées in Occitanie, Garbure has its roots in peasant cuisine, as it was prepared by using leftovers. The main ingredients are meat (usually duck and pork) and cabbage. Thanks to the simmering, Garbure acquires a rich taste that will surely please your taste buds.
This nourishing soup is served hot alongside a round white loaf of country bread called ‘Pain de Campagne.’
Garbure’s humble origin is still preserved as the soup is made with different ingredients depending on the season and availability, so you can eat many slightly different versions of this dish during your holiday.
6. Alicuit de Canard
This flavorsome specialty is a traditional stew made from parts of the duck that peasants used to eat not to waste them. The name of the dish, Alicuit de Canard, indeed means “wings and necks,” which are the low cuts of poultry of this stew.
The duck pieces are first browned, deglazed with white wine, and then simmered in broth alongside carrots and olives. During the cooking, flour is added to thicken the sauce.
This delicious main dish is served with parsley on top and accompanied by boiled potatoes and toasted bread flavored with garlic.
An Occitanie food to try is Bougnettes, large meatballs made with pork (belly and throat) mixed with eggs and breadcrumbs.
Golden and crispy on the outside and soft and warm on the inside, Bougnettes are usually eaten as a main, served alongside a salad or steamed potatoes. You can also find these meatballs poached in a soup for a flavorsome meal.
In some restaurants, you can find Bougnettes served as a cold appetizer.
An ancient Toulouse dessert, Fénétra is the perfect way to end a summer meal due to its refreshing flavors.
Fénétra consists of a pastry crust filled with apricot jelly and candied lemon peel and topped with a ‘dacquoise,’ which is a macaron-like shell made of whipped egg whites and almond flour.
The story of this dessert of Toulouse cuisine dates back to the Gallo-Roman periods, and its recipe was almost lost in time; however, thanks to the work of a group of artisan bakers in the 1960s, Fénétra’s recipe has been rediscovered and trademarked, so it can still be enjoyed today.
9. Brique du Capitole
Another sweet to try while in Toulouse (and Occitane in general) is Brique du Capitole. This chocolaty candy is a typical product from the Midi-Pyrénées region, and it traces back to 1952 when the Maison Nougalet factory first made these delicious praline brick-shaped sweets.
Brique du Capitole’s main ingredients include sugar, almonds, hazelnuts, and vanilla. The rich flavor and gooey filling of these pralines paired with the crispy chocolaty outside is truly irresistible!
Besides the classic Brique du Capitole, you can taste these sweets flavored with violet.
10. Crustade aux Pommes
A fantastic food in Toulouse to try is the Croustade aux Pommes. This old-fashioned but ever-delicious apple pie is perfect for breakfast, as a mid-morning snack, or after dinner.
A round-shaped puff pastry pie, the main ingredient of this Toulouse dessert is the fragrant apple chunks flambéed with Armagnac and the sweet apple compote, filling the lower part of the cake. On top is another layer of puff pastry.
This pie is often served with a generous spoon of vanilla ice cream, which makes it even harder to resist!
11. Violettes de Toulouse
Violettes de Toulouse is a must-try Toulouse food. These sweets made from fresh violet flowers crystallized in sugar are among the city’s culinary specialties. Firstly made in 1818 by the historic Toulouse-based confectioner Candiflor, Violettes de Toulouse can be enjoyed as candies or as additions to cakes and other pastries.
Violets have been cultivated in Toulouse since the mid-19th century, and these flowers are used in several food and drink preparations. The making process of Violettes de Toulouse is rather delicate, as the fresh flowers (Viola odorata or Viola Suavis varieties) are handpicked when ripe, so only in March, before being worked with the sugar.