Criollo artisan chocolates

March events and news roundup

Recently, I had the pleasure of attending a preview of the new spring menu of chocolates from Criollo Chocolatier and it made my chocolate-loving heart go pitter-patter. They rotate in new flavors twice per year, so I’d recommend stopping by to try the new ones. My new favorite is “Le Sablé de Saint-Anne” (the sand of Saint-Anne), which recalls a beach vacation in Guadeloupe with rum and tonka bean crumble and almond praline. I admit to usually having a preference for the smoothness of ganache chocolates, but this praliné with its crumbly, boozy interior transported me to a tropical island and won me over! One of the things that I love most about Criollo Chocolatier (besides the fact that it is DELICIOUS) is that they want their chocolates to evoke emotions, to tell a story, to call forth a memory – and they succeed brilliantly. Every time I slip one into my mouth, it makes me pause, makes me think, and makes me feel something. And really, that’s what good food is all about.

Bon appétit!


March Events

3 March – Maison de la Violette Portes Ouvertes

La Maison de la Violette, one of the few remaining producers of the Toulouse violets, is having an open house at their garden and greenhouse from 15h-18h at 116 avenue de Fronton, 31200 Toulouse. Watch their Facebook page for information.


8 March – WINE and WOMEN by Sud-Ouest

To celebrate International Women’s Day, les Vins du Sud-Ouest are hosting a series of dinners featuring women winemakers, sommeliers, and other wine professionals at 17 restaurants around Toulouse. Visit the Facebook event page for the list. All you need to do is make a reservation at your chosen restaurant and a featured vigneronne will be at each location.


Salon Vin et Terroirs March 2019

15-17 March – Salon Vins & Terroirs

Toulouse’s big wine fair is back for the spring edition! If you like wine, this is the place to be. A very reasonable entry fee of 5,50 € + 1 € for the glass (though, free invites may be available through Credit Agricole or wineries if you have bought from them as a past fair) gets you access to tastings at over 100 domaines, plus other specialty food vendors. This show happens once in spring and once in fall, so take advantage!  More information

23 March – Salon des Vins Bio et Naturels (Lavaur)

This small event for organic and natural wines in hosted in Lavaur, a charming town about 45K from Toulouse. Entry is free. More info on their Facebook event.

25 March – Semi-final Toulouse Cassoulet World Championship

The 4th annual “Championnat du Monde du Cassoulet de Toulouse” held in conjunction with the Teuf de Toulouse comedy festival, organized by Les Chevaliers du Fiel. The second semi-final is 1 April, with the final on May 13. Ticket cost of 60 € includes 1 aperitif, 4 different cassoulets, and wine. More information.

29-31 March – Salon Vivre Nature

This salon for all things natural and bio also includes several organic and biodynamic winemakers, as well as other organic specialty foods. You can print off a free entry form from the event website.


What I’m Reading

Vintage Wisdom: Jeanette Winterson on Wine (The Guardian)
“Working in Bilbao recently, I had wonderful evenings drinking wine that cost between €3 and €5 a glass. On each visit, the barman gave me a range of styles to try, explaining the differences between modern and traditional Spanish wine-making. That is better than a YouTube tutorial, and I have found that around the world people are proud to share their knowledge – and, if you are lucky, the beautiful young wines in plastic containers that will never be bottled or exported, but which are alive with the land where they are made, and pour into the tumbler like a genie out of a bottle.”

Charcuterie, cheese, seafood…This bar recreates the atmosphere of a market in a Toulouse theater (actuToulouse)
A new restaurant has opened to the public in the Théâtre de la Cité with stands that are modeled after a market food hall – cheese from Xavier, charcuterie from Maison Garcia, seafood, a grill station – even a crêpe stand. Check it out if you are always lamenting the fact that Toulouse’s markets are open only until lunch!

Culture Shock for French in Quebec: ‘We Smoke Cigarettes, They Smoke Pot’ (New York Times)
An interesting article on what it’s like for French people who move to Quebec. A good reminder that there is more to discovering the culture of a new place than just knowing the language.

Who will be the best pastry chef in the Southwest? (, also includes video)
Last week, the Southwest regional final of the French Dessert Championship was held in Toulouse. Candidates had 3 hours and carte blanche to prepare a dessert.


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Photo credit: Barth Photographie

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