Next stop on my summer tour I ventured to the wonderful city of Toulouse.
Just from word of mouth - I quickly discovered that if you are on the hunt for cheese, you must make an essential stop at Fromagerie Xavier. Located in the Victor Hugo district, it is easily accessible by foot. It is a very busy store. The cheesemongers provide exceptional customer service and will take care of you and answer all questions that you have. The aroma and visuals of all the cheeses are truly a feast for all your senses. There is one cheese that got my attention right away. It is the cheese in the first picture above. It looked like the bark of a tree!
Ardikatza, is a sheep's milk cheese from the Basque region of France. What makes this cheese unique is that it is aged in barrels covered in ash. It has an intense taste similar to a well-aged Parmesan. Lesson of the day, don't be afraid to try new things!
In the same area, just across the street, is the Marché Victor Hugo. Visualize if you can, a covered market with dozens of stalls. You will find stalls of seafood, meat, vegetables, bakeries, charcuterie, coffee, and of course, cheese!
There are several different fromageries inside the Marché. They all serve their own offerings of cheeses from the region. I talked to a couple of mongers about cheeses from California and they all said they would love to carry them someday in the future. After combing through the market, we picked out a few cheeses. We added a bottle of wine to enjoy.
Where do you go with all this cheese and wine? Take a walk to the River Garonne. Find a spot near the Place La Daurade. Enjoy the beautiful scenery with all the residents of Toulouse.