Are you a chocolate fan? If so, and you’re ever in Toulouse, seek out the amazing Galeries de Cacoe Fages in the St Cyprien district. Chocolate and Toulouse proved to be a delectable combination!
La Toulousaine – violet ganache, topped with a blackcurrant jelly, Caribbean chocolate and 66% cocoa…..
In this shop you’ll find the brothers Sylvain and Jeremy Fages eager to introduce you to their artisan chocolates – deliciously creative hand-crafted chocolate to eat, and drink!
Chocolate sculptures line the walls, all kinds of chocolates grace the counter-tops and you can watch the chocolatiers at work in their kitchen, creating the next masterpiece from carefully selected organic ingredients.
But before you browse for gifts to take home be sure to sip from the divine range of chocolate drinks: hot chocolate infused with jasmine tea, or cinnamon, or passion fruit cup with a marshmallow flower, or there’s a vegan option made with almond milk – and many other delicious and surprising flavours..
At under 5 EUR per cup it’s an inexpensive way to take a break from sight-seeing and pass a happy half-hour savouring the passion and true craftsmanship of the French chocolatier.
Did you know?
- Cacao beans were considered precious enough to be used as currency to exchange for food or slaves.
- The Mayan and Aztec cultures used chocolate in its liquid form in religious ceremonies.
- Chocolate wasn’t used in a hard tablet form until the 1850’s when Joseph Fry and then Nestle, Lindt and eventually Hershey perfected the commercialisation of chocolate in its hard form and today’s 35 billion dollar industry took off.
Where does chocolate come from?
Chocolate comes from the Theobroma Cacao tree, native to Central and South America, but it is grown commercially throughout the tropics and about 70% of the world’s cacao is grown in Africa.
A cacao tree can produce close to two thousand pods per year, sprouting from the branches and straight out of the trunk. The pods, which mature throughout the year, encase a sticky white pulp enclosing 30 or 40 seeds, or beans. The pods are harvested twice per year and then opened by hand. The beans, still sticky with pulp, are placed in earthen pits or wooden bins and covered with banana leaves and left to ferment.
It is the heat of fermentation that changes the bitter flavour of the raw bean into something more palatable. The sugars in the bean turn into acids, the colour changes from pale to dark brown and the pulp residue melts away. The length of the fermentation process depends on the type of bean; the higher quality beans may need only a few days to ferment, whilst others may need a week or more. As you’d expect the best chocolate flavours takes longer.
After fermentation, the beans are dried in the sun for about a week. The flavour continues to develop during this time and once dry, they are ready to be processed into chocolate.
Explore: chocolate and Toulouse
Hire boats and luxury hotel barges cruise the Canal du Midi from April to November. Toulouse, the ‘pink city’ to the western end, provides wonderful places to stay before and after your cruise and endless fascination.
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Les Galeries de Cacoe Fages
District of Saint-Cyprien
27 Rue Reclusane, Place de l’Estrapade, 31300 Toulouse
Phone: 05 34 51 55 52