Friday, June 06, 2008

Lyon - a culinary capital

Lyon is also famous for its food, in fact Lyon is said to be the culinary centre of France. I went to Lyon to taste the food of course, but I did not aim at eating in the most prestigious restaurants. I wanted to try the food at the Bouchons, i.e. the local restaurants serving specialties from the area.

Trying the Bouchons Lyonnais

I was stunned by the number of restaurants in Lyon. My culinary memories from Lyon are however varied. Meals served at two restaurants were plain and uninteresting, and definitely not worth the price. Three served delicious food. I will review the following here on Enjoy Food & Travel.
  • May 24th 2008: Lunch at Le Gourmand de Saint Jean
  • May 24th 2008: Dinner at Le Mandarine
  • May 25th 2008: Lunch at Le rendezvous des Gastronomes
  • May 25th 2008: Dinner at Le Laurencin
  • May 26th 2008: Lunch at Le Petit Glouton
The food market at the river bank

I would like to direct your attention to the food market along the Saone river. Rarely have I seen such a selection of fresh and processed meats, fish, poultry, vegetables, dairy products, bread and pastry.

The market is open Tuesday to Sunday, sadly closed Mondays, the day I would leave back to Norway. This meant that I could not buy any dairy product Sunday, as I would not have anywhere cold enough to store it overnight.

I did, however buy some salamis, cured meats that may be stored at room temperature. All in all I would love to rent a flat in Lyon and given the possibility to purchase food directly from the producer and prepare a delicious meal in a proper kitchen.

Seeing markets like this in Lyon or in other European cities I have visited, I realize that I live in a developing country, culinary wise.

I am filled with joy by the mere sight of local producers offering fresh natural products, on display, without cling film or unnecessary plastic wrapping.

Drooling at the deli

I come from a city by the Sea, but I never saw such a sight like this. In the middle of the city I could admire boiled lobster cut in half decorated with lemon and star fruit. In the back there were a dish with smoked salmon, delicately shaped and presented in a window of a delicatessen in central Lyon.

The fact that the owners of this shop have made the effort to prepare and display this exquisite products in their window describes their love of food and the respect for their customers.

And this was not all. Delicious pastry made with custard and/ or fresh fruit (on top), located by what I presume to be the salmon and lobster or crayfish terrine. This is pure gastro pornography, appealing to food as desire or lust.

On my quest of something to bring back I went to the local supermarket - the Monoprix, in order to find something delicious - and I did. In addition to the salamis bought by the bank of the Saone river I bought a small basket of delicatessen, but I will not reveal what I bought now. I will save this to later.

Lyon is a culinary shrine. If you have 5, 20, or 250€ to spend, you will get good food. Either in one of the small pastry shops, in an inexpensive bouchon, or a Michelin star restaurant. Such a range of restaurants are rarely seen, and try the local specialties. Some are made from unimaginable ingredients and will stretch your experience.

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