Restaurants in THUIR

While in this charming town, in the Languedoc-Roussillon region of France, I ate at a local neighborhood café for lunch and at a more upscale restaurant for dinner: good food and excellent service at both (just in case you venture this way, but bring your GPS!) See why HERE

1. Le Café Bleu (lunch):


Gambas flambees a l’Armagnac

Salade au poulet et roquefort

2. La Patio Catalan (dinner):


Lobster soup

Salade frisee

Salad and sardines

Fruit crumble and ice cream

Escargot Thuirinois: A Snail Farm

While I was in Thuir, in the Midi-Pyrénées region, I visited a snail farm: not something I really had planned on doing, but thought it would be interesting and oh so, French.

The reception area was a small trailer, with regional products displayed for purchase, where the owner cordially explained his business. It turned out that since the harvesting season is from March to mid-May, there wasn’t much to see other than empty crates and crinkled, Polaroid photos of the various stages of snail development.

I hadn’t really thought about how snails reproduce, albeit slowlyand learned that they lay eggs.  I also learned that the soil in which they mature cannot include fertilizer, as it burns the snails eyes, and that it takes about 3 months to reach snail adulthood.

This farmer raises about 50,000 snails each season, first in indoor plastic crates as an incubator, then they are transferred to the outdoor soil.  He said that generally, there is a 30% snail mortality rate (who knew?), and even higher with a too hot or too cold variation in temperatures. He showed enthusiasm and passion for his craft, even though there was an absence of les escargots à la catalan (recipe below).

Recipe credit: Symdicat Producteurs Pyrénées Orientales


(prounounced “to-ear” and “beear”)

I recently visited the town of Thuir, not far from Perpignan and in the most southern area of the Languedoc-Roussillon region. The sidewalks in this town are marble; the town was full of charm.

Thuir is home to “les Caves Byrrh” that houses the largest oak vat in the world (1,000,200 liters) in its production of “Byrrh,” an aperitif wine since 1873. I took a guided tour and learned it was first used medicinally as a tonic, as it contained quinine, and was sold only in pharmacies. The mixture of a variety of spices and zest (orange, cinnamon, coriander, cocoa, and coffee) gives each type of wine its unique flavor; the company also produce Dubonnet, a dry vermouth.

Of course, I did a wine tasting after the tour, and ended up buying a bottle of “SOHO” liquor, flavored with cherries and ginger, which could be added to champagne – sounded delicious and definitely ‘sold’ me!

Test your knowledge of “Byrrh” in this quiz (in French with answers provided)

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