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ABOUT US

We are hybrids. . .we run on chocolate and wine.

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Bienvenue à Cocoa & Grapes

My name is Joyce Halsey Gay, owner of Cocoa & Grapes and your tasting guide.

I discovered Carcassonne in 2005, looking for a place to call home in France while I was working abroad. Originally from America, I was captivated by gazing up at the citadel of La Cité and felt at home walking next to the Canal du Midi, so I began spending summer holidays in nearby villages. In 2015 I left school bells behind and made my home here with my husband and our two dogs, Lexie and Guinness.

Always delighted by the area’s viticulture and cuisine, in 2016 I studied with local expert and Master of Wine Matthew Stubbs and was awarded the WSET Level 2 Wines Certificate with Distinction. Exploring local wines became even more fascinating, and I knew that I wanted to continue learning and sharing with others what makes this once-underrated region so amazing.

In 2023, I studied at Valrhona's Cité du Chocolat and was awarded the Level 1 Certificate in Chocolate and Cacao Tasting from the IICCT. The two certifications are a perfect match, enabling me to provide tour guests with background regarding the history, production and flavour profiles of local wines and chocolates.

In my years of work and travel in international education (over 50 countries, before carbon footprint was a sobering concern), I went on many walking and tasting tours and experienced what makes an engaging and satisfying tour experience. Following in the footsteps of C&G founder Brent McTavish, I will provide you with facts, folklore and fascinating stories about Carcassonne, chocolate and wine as we stroll through a picturesque sector of La Bastide (which looks over the River Aude to the fortified La Cité), visiting local treasures and sampling their wines and chocolates.


 

 

 

 

 

 

Join us! I look forward to sharing my love for the region’s wines and fine chocolates with you through a Cocoa & Grapes Carcassonne chocolate and wine tasting food tour.

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