Wednesday 30 January 2019 marks National Croissant Day, a full 24 hours dedicated to celebrating the classic French viennoiserie. Fans of French cuisine, who are planning their next short-haul holidays, should consider the gourmet-friendly destination of Toulouse, which is brimming with quaint bakeries as well as Michelin-starred restaurants and bars serving local wine.
Croissants were allegedly introduced to France from Austria by Marie Antoinette and, while they are abundant in many flavoured forms throughout Toulouse’s bakeries, visitors won’t find any “pain au chocolats” in the city. Unlike the majority of France, residents of the south-western pink city call the chocolate-filled pastry “chocolatine”, a word that derives from “chicolatina” in the local Occitan dialect.
Locals are passionate about their name for the chocolatey pastry: in 2013 they formed a committee to defend it for, then four years later some Montauban (50 km from Toulouse) students beseeched the President to ask for the word “chocolatine” to be entered in the dictionary.
Chocolate-croissant controversy aside, here are the top five bakeries to visit during a city break to Toulouse, where visitors can enjoy the buttery, flakey-pastry treat.
Family-run Patisserie Conté is located in the old town of Toulouse, next to the cathedral, and offers a delicious selection of fresh pastries and cakes in an old-fashioned tea shop.
Sandyan was opened by innovative Michelin-starred Chef Yannick Delpech whose creations are a snapshot of natural scents, fresh fruits and carefully selected products. The patisserie is a delightful mix between a tea room and a boutique bakery offering delicious croissants as well as high level pastries that look too good to eat
Au Poussin bleu, père et fils
This family bakery is a Toulouse institution. A true heaven for macaron-lovers, Au poussin bleu also offers a wide range of original and tasty pastries to admire and devour.
With three shops in Toulouse, Maison Pillon, next to Place Wilson, is a small little pastry shop providing a well-placed venue for breakfast with a variety of pastries on offer. Visitors can take beautifully-presented gifts home to friends and family or order platters of sweet treats to their accommodation.
Le Fournil de Victor Hugo
In front of the Victor Hugo covered market, discerning visitors to Toulouse won’t want to miss this tiny bakery with mouth-watering baskets of breads and fresh pastries sitting invitingly in the window.
For more information about Toulouse, please visit www.toulouse-visit.com