Lyon is renowned for its gastronomy, Curnonsky in his book Principe des gastronomes consecrated Lyon, „World capital of gastronomy“. German food critic Jörg Zipprick says: „Food culture cannot be measured by the number of great restaurants, even though Lyon is very well placed; it is measured in its daily life, and there, there is no photo, Lyon is number one.
The city has world-famous chefs, notably Paul Bocuse and Eugénie Brazier, one of the mothers of this profession where men are in the majority. Georges Blanc, whose stronghold is in Vonnas, in Ain, however, also has a restaurant in Lyon. The two-star chefs Jean-Christophe Ansanay-Alex, Philippe Gauvreau, Mathieu Vianney, Guy Lassaussaie and Nicolas Lebec also honor the gastronomy of Lyon.
You can taste the rich local cuisine in restaurants in Lyon, about twenty of which are certified authentic, the corks, concentrated especially in the alleys of Vieux Lyon, the Terreaux district, rue Mercière and rue des Marronniers on the Presqu’île. The Halles de Lyon Paul Bocuse, located in the 3 th district, are another great place Lyon gastronomy. Among the typical dishes, here is what we will offer you: as a starter the Lyonnaise salad, the sapeur apron, the grattons, the rosette of Lyon, the cooking sausage or brioche sausage or even the jesus. As a main coursepike quenelles, dauphine potatoes, andouillette, Celestine chicken or even cardoon gratin. For dessert, pogne, praline tart or sweets such as marzipan cushions, bugnes (donuts eaten more towards Mardi Gras) or papillote (Christmas candy). In cheese, the typical Saint-Marcellin (cheese from Isère), Saint-Félicien (cheese from Dauphiné), Mont-d’Or, orbrain of canut. Lyon is located at the center of the great wine-growing regions of Beaujolais and the Côtes-du-Rhône, rich in appellations of controlled origin.
Lyon’s gastronomy has inspired certain maxims still heard today:
„Lyon is a city watered by three major rivers: the Rhône, the Saône and the Beaujolais. » Léon Daudet;
„The Legion of Honor of Lyon? The rosette! » Boris Vian.
In the Michelin Guide, Lyon has 3 two-star restaurants and 7 one-star restaurants. But the Lyon region (which includes the Michelin-starred restaurants in Lyon) has 2 three-star, 6 two-star and 12 one-star restaurants. In the end, the Rhône-Alpes region is one of the most distinguished regions in 2010 with 4 three-star restaurants, 21 two-stars and 46 one-star.
The city is a candidate for hosting the Cité de la gastronomie following the inclusion of the gastronomic meal of the French as part of the intangible cultural heritage of humanity.
The Lyonnaise cuisine is traditional cuisine Regional of the French kitchen. Lyonnaise cuisine, located at the crossroads of regional culinary traditions, has for generations been making the most of the surrounding agricultural resources: farms from Bresse and Charolais, game from Dombes, fish from Savoy lakes, vegetables and early fruits from Drôme, Ardèche and Forez, wines from Burgundy, Beaujolais and the Rhône valley.
In the xix th century, ranges of the bourgeoisie, nicknamed the „Mères“ Lyon, leave their home to start their own and give birth to still alive culinary traditions. In 1935, the gastronome Curnonsky did not hesitate to qualify the city of Lyon as „world capital of gastronomy „. In the xxi e century, Lyon cuisine, which defends an image of simplicity and quality, is sold both in France and abroad. With more than a thousand places, Lyon has one of the largest concentrations of restaurants per inhabitant in France: the typical „bouchons“ sit side by side with gourmet restaurants run by starred chefs, including the renowned Paul Bocuse.
The history of Lyon cuisine begins in antiquity at Lugdunum, the capital of the Three Gauls monopoly on the wine trade. Oil and brine were imported from Africa and the south of Spain. The wine trade was well-documented even before the arrival of Roman settlers in the region: trade in wine during the 2nd century AD is known to have occurred in the alluvial plain of the Vaise. Italian wines from the Tyrrhenian coast were also present.
A new population of Roman settlers brought Mediterranean flavors, new products and new food habits: the wines of Italy gave way to Greek wines, from Rhodes, from Cnidus, from Kos, and also wine from Chios, reputed to be the most expensive and luxurious wine. During the 1st century AD, wine from further places arrived, like wine from Crete and the Levant. At the end of the 2nd century AD, wines from other parts of Roman Gaul arrived.
It was not until the 3rd and 4th centuries that wine from more exotic locations like Tunisia arrived. Septimanus was a well-known cook from Lugdunum, who has been documented in historical texts. He had an inn on the site of the present Rue Saint Helena and was renowned for cooking pork and game birds properly.
During the Renaissance, there was a distinction between so-called „bourgeois“ cuisine and the more common cuisine of the lower classes. This „lower class cuisine“ made heavy use of offal, deemed „cheap cuts“, as immortalized by writer François Rabelais at the beginning of his novel Gargantua. In the story, Gargamelle gave birth to her son Gargantua after eating a great amount of „skewered tripe“, or grand planté de tripe in French.
The first edition of Pantagruel, another novel by Rabelais, published in Lyon in 1532 before Gargantua, is inspired by the adventures of a comedic doctor who is said to be inspired by the Lyonnaise comportment. The book evokes Lyonnaise cuisine, citing a list of dishes: „sausage, sausage, ham, sausages, huge wild boar roasts with garlic sauce, pluck, fricandeau, fat capons in white Mangier, hochepots, beef stew, cabirotades, hastereaux, game animals and birds, stuffed lamb, stuffed carp, whitefish, annealed (cheese flavored with peach leaves), crackers and macaroons (dry cakes), fruit jellies, fritters, and so on“.
Erasmus, a Renaissance humanist, hired many chefs from the city of Lyon: „It is better at home than when we are at a hotel in Lyon“…the Lyonnaise mother comes first to greet you, begging you to be happy and to accept food“. The city had specialized in the preparation of certain foods, as evidenced even in place names: rue de la Fromagerie (Cheese Shop Street), rue Poulaillerie (Poulterer Street), rue Mercière (Merchant’s Street).
18th century to present
It was in the eighteenth century that ice cream was introduced to Lyon by an Italian, Spreafico. The modern culinary reputation of Lyon was truly born with the publication of a poem by Joseph de Berchoux, glorifying the local cuisine. He was born in Roanne in 1760, and moved to Lyon in 1770. His work, Gastronomie ou l’homme des champs à table, which was translated into several languages, introduced the idea of „eating well“ in French culture and dispersed the new word „gastronomy“.
It precedes the works of Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin and Alexandre Balthazar Laurent Grimod, which would later perpetuate Berchoux’s praise of the art of eating well. This „art“ would become a specific middle-class characteristic of French society in the nineteenth century.
A book by Amable Leroy, La cuisinière bourgeoise, published in 1783, invented and immortalized recipes that would make Lyonnaise cuisine famous. In the last years of the eighteenth century the first modern-style restaurants would appear, some of which still exist today. There is Déduit, located at the top of rue Romarin, known for its calf’s head specialty. It was also during this period that the Lyonnaise mothers would appear. They were master charcutières, or meat-cutters in English. The first to open a shop was Mother Brigousse, in 1759. She became famous for preparing and cutting Pike.
The Lyonnaise mothers become so famous that the gourmet Maurice Edmond Sailland, usually known as Curnonsky, who had spent several weeks each winter in Lyon declared in 1934 from the Vettard restaurant that Lyon was the „capital of gastronomy“. The statement came during the golden era of Lyonnaise cuisine, involving people with feathers and gastronomes and the idea spread and soon became one of the components of the image that Lyon will give their city. Curnonsky reasoned that Lyon’s cuisine reflects the values of the local society, including its simplicity, as it appears in the speech of Paul Bocuse: „It is this honesty, this taste of the measure, I like to find in an honest and healthy Lyonnaise dish“.
Bernard Poche, in his book Lyon tel qu’il s’écrit. Romanciers et essayistes lyonnais 1860-1940, or Lyon, as written: Lyonnais novelists and essayists 1860–1940, concluded that eating well affected all layers of the population of the city. In the nineteenth century, the puppet Guignol, the famous weaver, often finds its parts by the prospect of a „hoary stew“, a good meal, while novels use, or scoff at the legendary delicacy of bourgeois Lyon.
Terroirs and culinary influences
As a result of Lyon’s geographical location, many different culinary influences have converged in the city’s cuisine, particularly those of the South (Provence and the Mediterranean) and of the North (Alsace and Lorraine). Each cuisine imparts its own characteristics: the use of butter and cream from the North and of fresh vegetables and olive oil from the South. In addition, in the fifteenth century, Lyon served as one of the primary distribution centres for spices imported from the East by Italian merchants.
There are a number of terroirs around Lyon whose farmers supply their products to the city. To the north of Lyon lies Charolais, whose cattle breeders provide beef, while the fishermen of the Saône River deliver whitebait. The wine-producing region of Beaujolais is also located to the north of Lyon. According to French writer and journalist Léon Daudet,“ are three reasons why Lyon is the capital of French gastronomy…. The third is that in addition to the Saône and the Rhône, she is served by a third river, the Beaujolais, which never dries up and is never muddy.“
Located north-east of Lyon, the region of Bresse supplies poultry, the appellation d’origine contrôlée (En: controlled designation of origin) of which dates to 1957. Bresse also supplies gaudes, corn used to make soupe de farine jaune (En: corn flour soup). The neighbouring region of Bugey provides wine as well as crayfish, which are caught in the lac de Nantua (En: Nantua Lake) and are used as the base of the Nantua sauce that often accompanies quenelles. Frogs, along with several types of fish including carp, tench, roach, pike and zander, are also supplied by the Dombes, a glacier-gouged plateau made up of more than 1,000 ponds (sometimes referred to as lakes), the majority of which are man-made and were created during the Middle Ages.
The regions to the south of Lyon produce fruits, vegetables and wines in the Vallée du Rhône (En: Rhône Valley). In the Ardèche, a department in south-central France named after the Ardèche River, farmers continue to develop the cultivation of chestnuts, which are a key ingredient in the traditional French Christmas dish, turkey with chestnuts. The Dauphiné region, which is known for its pork products and cheeses such as the Saint-Felicien or the Saint-Marcellin, is also located to the south of Lyon as are the 48 communes that produce rigotte de Condrieu, „… a soft French goat cheese with a bloomy rind… takes its name from the word ‘rigot’ (meaning small stream) and the town of Condrieu, 40 kilometers south of Lyon.“
To the west of Lyon, the livestock farms of the Monts du Lyonnais (Lyonnais mountains) are the source of the charcuterie and salt meat known as cochonnailles lyonnaises as well as variety of other pork products including rosette de Lyon, a cured sausage named for its pink colour and made from pork shoulder, and jésus de Lyon, which is a „large, coarsely chopped, pure pork sausage studded with large pieces of fat plump shape resembles a swaddled baby.“
These farmers also produce sausage, salami, pigs‘ trotters, ham, filet mignon, terrines, farmhouse pâté and pork rind (including fried pork rinds) as well as small artisanal cheeses or rigottes that are generally made of cow or goat milk. In addition, agricultural producers from this region, primarily market gardeners, are often present at the markets of Lyon. For instance, the French commune of Thurins calls itself the raspberry capital of France.
The stopper is a typical restaurant where you can eat specialties, including the sapeur apron, quenelles, Lyonnaise salad and cervelle de canut. Everything is generally served very copiously and washed down with a glass of Beaujolais or Côtes-du-Rhône. Cited by many authors, this traditional place must be simple and friendly.
Let us also recall Jean-Marie Fonteneau: „The true“cork“must maintain a sincere tradition of Lyonnaise cuisine, based on the authenticity of the products, but it must also be a warm welcome center in joy and good mood. “
Contrary to what one hears, the name „cork“ does not come from the fact that it „corked“ (rubbing with a straw stopper) the horses of the clients. This name comes rather from the habit that innkeepers had in the past of indicating their establishment by a bundle of boughs or branches hanging on their door. Nizier du Puitspelu confirms this hypothesis in his Littré de la Grand’Côte, by defining the word „stopper“ as being: „1. (of) pine branches, forming as much as possible the ball, and which we suspend, as a sign at the door of cabarets. Decrease of bousche, in old French. branching harness. The cabaret itself. – By metonymy: of the thing for the sign of the thing.. “
Since 1997, the Association for the Defense of Lyonnais Bouchons has awarded a label called „Authentiques Bouchons Lyonnais“, in order to identify establishments considered to be among the most typical and oldest. The holders of the label are distinguished by a sticker representing Gnafron, a glass of wine in hand, Lyon’s symbol of the pleasure of the table, and a checkered tablecloth. There are currently around 20 restaurants to own this iconic label. After several years of operation, the association had to face criticism. In 2012, the CCI de Lyon launched its own label: „Les Bouchons Lyonnais », Also illustrated by a Gnafron. Among the restaurants holding this new label, we find some that were already „Authentiques bouchons lyonnais“.
The name Mères lyonnaises (En: Mothers of Lyon) refers to the female cooks who gave birth to Lyon’s current gourmet reputation. Their history was linked to the rise of automobile tourism, as promoted by the Michelin Guide, and the development of the city of Lyon under mayor Edouard Herriot. In the mid-19th century, these women of modest means, initially the cooks in large middle-class households in Lyon, decided to start their own businesses, serving dishes that mixed homemade and traditional cuisine. Many more women joined their numbers during the Great Depression, when they were let go from the wealthy households that employed them.
While starting out serving a client base of working-class people, such as journeymen, in this industrial city, the reputation of their meals soon spread to a much wealthier clientele. Celebrities, businessmen and politicians came to frequent these establishments despite the mixing of the social classes, particularly in the Golden Age of the Mères, during the Inter-War period. They offered a menu that was simple (four or five traditional dishes) yet refined enough to guarantee both culinary pleasure and a welcoming ambiance.
The first historical mention of a Mère dates back to Mère Guy in 1759. Located on the Rhône River in the Mulatière region, her self-named guinguette (En: open-air restaurant) specialized in matelote d’anguilles, a dish of stewed eels in white/red-wine sauce.
A century later, her granddaughters, referred to as La Génie (En: the Genius) and Maréchal, became the new face of Mère Guy, bringing back classic recipes, including their grandmother’s stewed eels, the dish that „made the Mère Guy reputation.“ This reputation attracted honoured guests, including the Empress Eugénie on her annual visit to the thermal waters of neighbouring Aix-les-Bains.
Around this time (1830-1850), Mère Brigousse ran a restaurant in the Charpennes district of Lyon. One of her most popular dishes was Tétons de Vénus (En: Venus‘ breasts), large breast-shaped quenelles.
Mère Fillioux (Françoise Fillioux, 1865-1925) was the first Mère whose „reputation was known well beyond the limits of the city and region.“ She established a restaurant on 73 rue Duquesne, known for a simple, unchanging menu featuring her own culinary creations, such as volaille demi-deuil (En: fowl in half-mourning). The dish takes its name from her technique of cooking „a fattened hen with slivers of truffle inserted between skin and flesh. The alternating black and white appearance of the flesh explains the term ‘half mourning’, a period following the all-black dress of full mourning, when it was acceptable for widows to alternate black and white or grey clothing.“
Specialities such as these, „turned out with such generosity and devotion to perfection…made her famous to gourmets the world over within her lifetime.“
As early as the 1920s, Mère Bourgeois (Marie Bourgeois) was making a name for herself in the region. In 1933, she became one of the first women to receive 3 stars from the Michelin Guide for her restaurant in Priay, in the Rhône-Alpes department of Ain.
Also in 1933, Mère Brazier (Eugénie Brazier, 1895-1977), „the highest achiever“ of all the Mères, was awarded this distinction for both of her restaurants, one on 12 rue Royale and the other on Col de la Luère in Lyon, giving her a total of 6 stars. Trained by the renowned Mère Fillioux, she was „the first woman to receive [this many stars] for two restaurants simultaneously“ and „rose to become Lyon’s most renowned chef“ of the time. Guests of Mère Brazier included the mayor, Edouard Herriot, and celebrities such as poet/screenwriter Jacques Prévert and singer Édith Piaf.
Paul Bocuse, a chef „more famous than whoever happens to be mayor“ and the longest-standing recipient of 3 Michelin stars (over 40 years), apprenticed under Mère Brazier. Bocuse attributes much of his success to those formative years, a sentiment echoed „by many of Lyon’s great chefs“ who received similar culinary training under les Mères.
Among these chefs is Alain Alexanian (L’Alexandrin restaurant and A Point Café), whose career began with an apprenticeship under Mère Castaing (Paulette Castaing), a two-time Michelin star recipient for her restaurant L’Ouest in Beau-Rivage, in the Condrieu region.
Chef Georges Blanc was similarly influenced by his grandmother Élisa, known as Mère Blanc, whose restaurant in Vonnas became the seat „of a veritable dynasty of great chefs.“ In 1933, she was described as „the best cook in the world“ by Curnonsky, a well-known food critic.
Other Mères include Mère Vittet, who established a restaurant near Lyon’s Perrache train station, and Mère Léa, who ran La Voûte (En: the Vault) in Lyon’s Place Antonin Gouju. Some of her dishes included tablier de sapeur (literally meaning sapper’s apron – a dish of pan-fried tripe), macaroni gratin, and choucroute au champagne (an adaptation of choucroute garnie, „sauerkraut cooked and served with meat,“ usually „pork, sausages and often potatoes“ made with Champagne instead of Riesling), for which she was awarded a Michelin star. Known as a woman who was quick to share her opinions (often quite loudly), Mère Léa would go to the Saint Antoine market each morning pushing a large cart with a sign that read „Attention! Faible femme, forte en gueule“ (En: Beware! Weak woman, strong voice).
Still others include Mère Pompom, Mère Charles, La Grande Marcelle, Mère Jean, La Mélie, Mère Carron, Madame Andrée and Tante Paulette.
Meals and dishes names
The mâchon, once a traditional morning meal, is served in the caps (but not only). One can find there the „Lyonnaise cochonnaille“, the dishes based on pork, like the hot bacon, the grattons, the packet of rind (called ironically „tied pigeons“), the jesus and the rosette, the rillettes and the pâtés of campaign. Everything is washed down with a glass of red wine.
On the menu for the Christmas meal, there are capon, or Bresse poultry, with morels and chestnuts, cardoon gratin and the Ardèche chestnut log and papillotes. The classic lunch on November 11 at Mère Brazier’s consisted of grilled sausages or blood sausages, garnished with sautéed „fruit apples“, roast pork with chestnuts, babas and vanilla ice cream.
The dishes sometimes bear names from the Lyonnais language such as „choppings“ (mutton’s feet, as in the example „a salad of choppings“ with transons of fèges „, with slices of liver „), „squash „Or the“ courle „to speak of pumpkin, the“ barabans „to speak of dandelions (Taraxacum dens leonis, called baraban, of barbanum, of barba probably because of its hairy crested heads), the“ goifons „for about the stud, the „poureau“ (written poreu in Francoprovenal, and pronounced in Lyon) meaningleek, „pourette“ instead of scallion, „cayon“ is a word directly derived from Francoprovençal, and which means pork, „haute-tastes“ instead of aromatic plants and perfumed condiments, etc.
The „fireman“ designates a mixture of wine, currant syrup and seltzer water. The purely Lyon origin is however questioned because the term also exists in Paris. The potatoes were sometimes called „truffles“. Nizier du Puitspelu, in his Littré de la Grand’Côte, published in 1894, mentions „truffles in barboton“, which designate stewed potatoes, a recipe taken up under the title of „potato splash““ In other cookbooks.
Guide of Lyon’s cuisine
As the saying goes, „whoever skips a meal is not from Lyon“. From the big table to the neighborhood stopper, the homemade organic or veggie burger, falafel or donut stalls, through tea rooms and coffee shops for sweet tooths, in Lyon, it will be good, starter to dessert!
The aperitif begins with a kir, Burgundy creme de cassis diluted in white wine, a Communard, creme de cassis diluted in red wine, or a „pompier“, a mixture of wine, currant syrup and seltzer water. To accompany this drink, we taste grattons, grilled residues of fat and pork, served hot or cold.
The starters give pride of place to pork- based cured meats. The Lyon pork products is here, as for main courses, very present as the rosette de Lyon, great sausage of meat of pork. The framework of its manufacture goes beyond the Lyon region. The real Lyon rosette is embossed (an operation which consists of filling the casings of pork or mutton with meat) in a special casing, filleted and then dried for a period of two to three months. It should be stored in the ambient air (not in modern houses), without excessive temperatures. Originally from Beaujolais, the rosette owes its name to the pork casing in which it is embossed: the spindle, that is to say the intestine ending in the anus called rosette, given its color.
The Jesus of Lyon is the „cousin“ of the rosette of Lyon. It is a large diameter sausage, 10 cm. It weighs around 400 g and is made from carefully sorted and trimmed meats; it undergoes a particularly important maturation and refining phase for the taste quality of the finished product. The raw material used in the composition of the product is exclusively meat and hard pork fat. The jesus of Lyon, to be well maintained, is put under a net which gives a specific imprint and a particular pear shape. It must dry for long weeks before being consumed.
The Lyon sausage is smaller in size and therefore more dry: he eats hard, and his meat is dark (it is often mixed, mixing pork lean meats such as beef, donkey or horse), embellished large black peppercorns.
You can still taste a sausage to cook, possibly truffled or pistachio: the sausage is boiled and served with potatoes. The sausage brioche is a cooking sausage placed in a brioche dough and baked. It is often eaten unaccompanied, cut into slices.
Besides the pork, you can taste the Lyonnaise salad, or the Lyonnais salad bowl, a green salad decorated with croutons of garlic bread, poached eggs, and small fried bacon. The apron of sapeur is a preparation of beef strawberries, marinated and breaded. The cheese puffs, original Burgundy, are small cheese choux. The poached eggs in are also popular, decorated with wine Beaujolais or Burgundy. The onion soup au gratin is eaten as a starter or on its own at dinner. Making good bread with traditional flour. Let’s end with the „poultry liver cake“, a sort of liver soufflé, which bears witness to this popular offal-based cuisine.
Main dishes can be classified according to the agricultural products they use.
The poultry is expressed in the demi-mourning hen, the recipe created by mother Fillioux, trainer of mother Brazier. Pieces of truffle are kept under the skin of the chicken before it is stewed. It is accompanied by new vegetables (leeks, carrots and turnips) boiled. The sauce can be made from truffle juice, prepared by wetting the cooking juices.
The Celestine chicken is a chicken sautéed with mushrooms and tomatoes, with cognac and white wine and seasoned with garlic and parsley. In 1860, Jérôme Rousselot, the „saucier“ chef of the Restaurant du Cercle, rue de Bourbon in Lyon, fell in love with his boss, a young widow, named Célestine Blanchard, a famous mother from Lyon. In his honor, he imagines a recipe he calls Celestine chicken. It is said that, seduced, it will eventually grant his hand. Finally, we can cite chicken with morels, a typical Bressan dish.
The pork is as present as in the starters.
It is found in apple pudding, black pudding accompanied by lightly stewed apples. The andouillette, a product cooked by the producer, to be reheated and accommodated as desired, is very present at the Halles Paul Bocuse and in many cold meats, in two quite different forms: either a pure „pork“ product, more or less similar to the andouillette de Troyes, or the lyonnaise andouillette proper (sometimes called Beaujolaise), made from veal strawberries, which was the most traditional in the region until the ban, as a precaution, of the matter of base (mad cow crisis): production resumed in September 2015. The andouillette, often simply pan-fried, grilled or a la plancha when it is made with elements from the pork digestive tract, can be cooked in Beaujolaise (cut into pieces and cooked in the wine), mustard, Provençal style, with tomatoes and parsley (not to be confused with Provencal andouillette itself, from any other production), etc. Two characteristics of Lyonnaise andouillettes: they are often sold with a fairly strong presence of mustard and coated with breadcrumbs.
The sabodet, which is sometimes said to be created by a pork butcher from Saint-Jean-d’Ardières in Beaujolais, without this being currently claimed on the spot, is a cooking sausage made from whole minced pork head, with among others, the ears and the muzzle. The „Lyonnaise tripe“ are cooked with a fricassee of onions, seasoned with garlic; the „tied pigeons“ designate, ironically, the packet of rind, and also, but unrelated, if not the shape, the bow tie. The package is tied with a string and sold by the butchers at very low prices. The bacon toLentilles du Puy is a pork knuckle stew with lentils.
Freshwater fish is in the spotlight with pike quenelles in Nantua sauce. The quenelle is a sausage of semolina or wheat flour, blown in the oven, accompanied by a crayfish sauce. A quenelle order, founded in Lyon, decreed that a pike quenelle, to deserve its name, must contain at least 25% of pike meat. The word „quenelle“, attested in the French language since 1750, would derive its origin from the German Knödel which means „ball of dough“. Crayfish are also included in the recipe for crayfish tail gratin. Finally, you can discover the frogs‘ legs from Dombes, browned in butter and seasoned with garlic and parsley, or fried from the Saône.
Among the unclassifiable, we can mention the Lyon-style calf’s liver. Coated with flour, the slice of liver is cooked then wet in wine and vinegar, to give a sauce bound to butter. The entrecote, on the other hand, can be flavored with a Saint-Marcellin sauce.
To finish the list of particularities, let us quote the „deaf omelette“: a traditional omelet in which one has incorporated cereal flour. The „simple“ omelet must be runny: „it must let escape from its sides bruised by the spoon a semi-fluid, semi-pasty substance, consisting of part of the beaten eggs, incompletely coagulated. The rest has been hardened by the oven and forms the body of the omelet. “
As an accompaniment, we find the famous gratin dauphinois, today on all tables in France. But as Stendhal says, there are many other ways to accommodate potatoes, especially in the form of a crack – a fried potato pancake – in the form of dauphines or even potatoes cut in the shape of a diced and cooked in fat. The other vegetables are not left out. In addition to the Provençal tomatoes, seasoned with garlic and parsley, we must mention the gratin of cardoons. This vegetable appears in particular on the menu of the Christmas meal because the cardoon, of which the queen species is that ofVaulx-en-Velin, is cultivated in winter. Cardoon can also be eaten cooked with a roux and flavored with bone marrow.
The Lyon cheese platter consists of Saint-Marcellin, a soft cheese with a bloomy rind, a specialty in particular dauphinoise, Saint-Félicien, a soft cheese with a bloomy rind from the south of Lyon, rigotte, cheese made from milk from goat cheese (Rigotte de Condrieu and rigotte de Pélussin), the aroma of Lyon and the tomme of Beaujolais.
Among the cheeses that have disappeared, let us quote the Galette des Monts-d’Or, the recipe of which was lost after the death of the last producer who possessed the manufacturing secret and the „fromage de Marolles“, a square cheese about ten centimeters per side that we ate at Croix-Rousse. It seems that it has nothing to do with the cheese consumed in the north of France under the name of Maroilles in the arrondissement of Avesnes.
The brains of canut, or „claqueret“, „tomme daubée“, or even „sarasson“, in the Saint- Etienne region, is not a cheese, but a specialty made from fresh beaten curd that is seasoned with salt, the pepper, the chives, the garlic, the shallots, the vinegar and the oil. You can also add a small white goat cheese to the preparation. It takes its name from silk workers, workers of the weaving of silk in Lyon. It is served for example as an accompaniment to cold meats and hot potatoes, but it can also be eaten directly with a spoon, without accompaniment at the end of the meal.
Desserts and sweets
Bakeries offer pogne, a natural brioche flavored with orange blossom, from the town of Romans, in the Drôme; the Saint-Genix cake, a praline brioche, from the town of Saint-Genix-sur-Guiers in Savoy; praline tart and bugnes, kinds of donuts eaten on Shrove Tuesday. They are especially known under the name of „spur bugnes“, because of the tool used to cut the dough, which has the shape of a rider’s spur. There are also cauldrons with anise,“Small cake made with milk bread dough, anise, currants and milk“, according to Nizier du Puitspelu in his dictionary, Le Littré de la Grand’Côte. The sugar cake is a specialty of Pérouges, in Ain.Voisin chocolates have created a treat made from marzipan, a dark chocolate ganache and enhanced by a touch of Curaçao, the cushions from Lyon. This specialty has been listed since 1960 in the French National Heritage Register. Voisin is also at the origin of the revisited quenelles, in chocolate version (praline coated in white chocolate). The Bernachon house owes its fame to its chocolates and cocoa desserts.
The papillote, a small chocolate folded in shiny paper, is the traditional treat for Christmas holidays.
Finally, if you are still hungry, matefaim, or matafan, to speak Lyonnais, designates a kind of thick pancake. This neologism refers to the expression „to suppress hunger“.
Wines and other beverages
„Lyon is a city watered by three large rivers: the Rhône, the Saône and the Beaujolais, which is never silty or dry. “
These few words from the writer pay tribute to the wine produced in the Beaujolais vineyard, a famous wine region north of Lyon. If today the vineyards are perfectly delimited and the appellations severely controlled, it is not the same according to the times. Already in Roman times, there was mention of wines consumed in the region, Mediterranean and Gallic wines. In the Middle Ages, the vineyards were at the gates of Lyon: the hill of Fourvière was covered with vines, as well as the slopes of the current district of Croix-Rousse or the slopes of the hill of Sainte-Foy-lès-Lyon. Decimated by phylloxera in the 19th century century and pushed back by urbanization, the vineyards are grouped into three distinct groups: Beaujolais, Coteaux-du-Lyonnais and Coteaux du Rhône. In restaurants, the wine is served in the Lyonnais pot with a capacity of 46 cl. We will therefore ask for a „pot of ribs“ for a pot of Côtes du Rhône, or a „pot of Beaujolais“.
The winegrowers and wine cooperatives of the Beaujolais vineyard produce Beaujolais, an essentially red wine. About 1% of the production concerns white wine or rosé wine. This wine uses exclusively the Gamay grape variety. There are three kinds of Beaujolais: simple Beaujolais, which represents the bulk of production and which goes well with all types of cuisine, Beaujolais Village which produces early and very fruity wines, and finally the ten crus of Beaujolais: brouilly, chénas, chiroubles, côte-de-brouilly, flowery, juliénas, morgon, moulin-à-vent, régnié and saint-amour. Traditionally fruity, most Beaujolais wines can be kept between two and ten years.
The Beaujolais Nouveau is a young wine consumed immediately after vinification. It is known and celebrated worldwide on the third Thursday of November and causes many parties at midnight on the day of its arrival, especially during the Sarmentelles festival, in Beaujeu, the historic capital of Beaujolais and in Lyon.
The appellation Coteaux-du-Lyonnais was created in 1984. The region between the localities of l’Arbresle and Brignais produces a wine using the same grape variety as Beaujolais with more pronounced Mediterranean notes.
The Rhône Valley vineyard covers an area of nearly 80,000 hectares and produces different wines. Among those most frequently found in Lyon, we can cite for red wines, Côte-Rôtie, Crozes-Hermitage, Saint-Joseph and Cornas and, for white wines, Condrieu.
Finally, we should mention a kind of liqueur, the Lyon gentian, taken as an aperitif or as a digestif, as well as the walnut wine or the peach wine from Vourles which is consumed during the meal.
Tacos de Lyon
The French tacos, or tacos de Lyon, was invented in the early 2000s in Vaulx-en-Velin in the Lyon suburbs. Although it does not include any ingredient made in the Lyon region, it is by default integrated into Lyon cuisine and one of its most famous dishes, because today Lyon tacos are present all over the world.
Few of the restaurants, previously run by famous mothers, have survived the disappearance of their cook. We can cite, for Lyon, mother Léa, mother Vittet and mother Brazier. Very many brasseries and cafes, then famous, have also disappeared from the landscape: the Brasserie du Parc, the Café Riche, the Vettard restaurant, the Savoie restaurant (rue de la République)… There are still a few survivors such as the Brasserie Georges, installed on the cours de Verdun since 1836 and the Grand Café des Merchants, located in Cordeliers, at the corner of Édouard-Herriot and Grenette streets, since 1864. At the Le Morateur restaurant, which has now disappeared, the Club Brillat-Savarin was held. This restaurant, known for its „salmon pâté with Bacchus sauce“ and its quenelles, was created in 1830 by Charles Morateur at 12, rue Gentil.
Today in Lyon, certain districts are animated by many restaurants: rue Mercière, rue des Marronniers, rue Saint-Jean, rue Royale. These sets sometimes have their own specificities: fried food and river fish in Saint-Rambert-l’Île-Barbe, typically local dishes in Saint-Jean, counter-top cuisine on rue de la Bourse, near the old market halls.
Lyon’s early bird cuisine
Exotic for stomachs upon waking up late and quickly adopted by not-so-adventurous gourmets, the Mâchon – good morning food – is a real moment in Lyon’s life, part of its gastronomic history. It was at the first light of the morning that the canuts, silk weavers of Croix-Rousse, found themselves seated after a long night’s work. Their elbows resting on the checkered tablecloth of a cork, they weren’t the type to recharge the batteries while sipping green tea and timidly munching on some pastries. The table is serious.
On the menu: canut’s brain, sapper’s apron, scratchings, andouillettes, all washed down with Beaujolais and Mâconnais. Enough to put the postman back on the bike. The perfect time to laugh with colleagues and friends.
Frédéric Dard, legendary writer from Lyon, defined this moment as that of „the meal, the fruity wine, the friendship that no fatigue weakens (…) The hour when the sun rises on the bright faces of the Francs-Mâchons and their dripping into the heart via the throat. “ The Franks-what is a brotherhood – anything but occult – which continues to keep this immovable part of Lyon’s gastronomic culture alive, the Francs-Mâchons. A college of experts which has awarded around fifty local establishments the label of merry morning riders. A very (good) living tradition that the Chamber of Commerce and Industry and ONLYLYON Tourism have also decided to institutionalize through frequent meetings where we chat good food, great thirst, business and the latest pottery to date. It’s your turn to adopt it.
Chat session with friends
What could be more enjoyable than sipping tea (or any other drink of your choice) while enjoying a good homemade cake and in good company?
In Slopes of Croix-Rousse and Terreaux
For a gourmet break near the 1st arrondissement, head to Tomé on the slopes of Croix-Rousse. This canteen café welcomes you all day long around beautiful and good products, in an atmosphere conducive to cocooning. Place Sathonay, the Hyppairs concept store invites you to travel and enjoy a sweet or savory break in the heart of the boutique. Vegetable atmosphere guaranteed (you sip your tea surrounded by plants) with good local products. Gourmets will meet at Ikône, a melted chocolate bar located near the Place des Terreaux where Valrhôna chocolate reigns supreme… For a relaxed and international atmosphere, head to the coffee shop of the new generation Away Hostel. Enough to make amazing encounters!
Attention, difficult choice! From Terreaux to Place Carnot, the streets of the city center are teeming with good addresses… A colorful atmosphere and a reminder of childhood at Pimprenelle, chocolate pleasures at Lindt (yes, they also have a tea room!) Or a fair-trade version at Second Cup, in the heart of the Grand Hotel Dieu. Place your bets. Fancy a 5-star break in an exceptional setting? Le Dôme, bar of the Intercontinental hotel welcomes you between 3 p.m. and 6 p.m. under its 32-meter-high dome for a gourmet and gourmet tea time. Chocolate addicts will find their happiness at Diggers Chocolate bar where the bean comes in all its forms, while Anglophiles will find their happiness during a „very British“ tea time at Bourbon’s House.
On the Bellecour side, Tea ‚Landsia welcomes you in a bohemian / rural atmosphere, the Pignol house plays the card of tradition with its huge choice of pastry classics and In Cuisine offers you a break away from the noise of the square under its surprising glass roof. Going towards Perrache, push open the door of the Sweet Papas, 2 boys in the stoves who make your taste buds vibrate.
In Old Lyon
In the most touristic district of Lyon, we trust the great classics and we go to La Marquise, tea room where to taste superb tarts / brioches with praline! And take the opportunity to take a look at the interior courtyard of the beautiful Maison du Chamarier in which the pastry shop is located.
In Left bank of the Rhône
For quality products in a refined contemporary atmosphere, come to the Kitchen Café ! And psssst, their pastries can also be ordered to take away for your events. If the vegetal side / designer objects / healthy cuisine attracts you like a magnet, Anahera will make you happy! From lunch to the afternoon break, this urban oasis also offers workshops and events, and vegan and gluten-free choices. The Ho36 welcomes a moment of sharing and conviviality in its bar adjoining the hostel where travelers and locals mingle.
Eating or having a drink in Lyon with a stroller or friends in strollers is not always easy, far from it, so we have concocted a small list of places easily accessible and where the service will make you feel welcome, among our Collector’s addresses.
L’Envers des Pentes and Trokson (Pentes de la Croix-Rousse)
In summer, the „slab“ on which these two cafes des Pentes have their terrace is invaded by children. It screams, it bickers, it plays football, while the parents have a drink. Two relaxed addresses as we like them!
Very good pastries and a pretty terrace on Place Bertone in Croix-Rousse. Children can feast and frolic in the square, away from cars!
House Charrié (Guillotière)
A pretty pastry shop, on Place Raspail, in la Guillotière. The view is beautiful and the desserts too! And for the little ones, the Guillotière merry-go-round is very close!
A healthy and gourmet coffeeshop, where children are welcome. Even the placemats can be colored there, perfect!
The Kitchen Café (Guillotière)
The place is small, but the food is delicious. It is one of the favorite addresses of Lyon bistronomes, and their children are also welcome, Connie always being happy to give them something to play and draw!
Le Bieristan (Villeurbanne)
A „biergarten“ which allows you to drink a beer and enjoy a flamkueche in peace in its large Villeurbanese garden. Perfect for spring and summer evenings. Obviously, the list is much longer than that, but you have to start your family walk somewhere.
Gastronomy in the regional economy
The „wholesale market“ became by decree in 1966, the market of national interest, or MIN, serves routing platform and delivery of part of the agricultural products consumed in the region. This decree also fixes a geographical area served by the MIN, an area which does not correspond to the community area, created in 1969. Faced with the saturation of the historic Perrache site and the obsolescence of the area concerned, Greater Lyon has undertaken to move the MIN to the town of Corbas, to the south of the agglomeration 60. This site benefits from a satisfactory transport service., which freed up a large land reserve for the development of the Lyon-Confluence district.
There are many outdoor markets or installed in specially built halls. The most famous place is the new halls of Lyon-Paul Bocuse. Historically located in the Cordeliers district in central Lyon, the halls were nicknamed the „belly of Lyon“, like the Halles district in Paris. Relocated to the new Part-Dieu district in 1971, it perpetuates the tradition of selling high-quality agricultural products. They have many tasting stands, restaurants…
The city of Lyon alone has more than forty markets and that of Villeurbanne, around ten. In Lyon, in particular, the Saint-Antoine market, where certain restaurateurs stock up (we see a lot of Paul Bocuse there), the Croix-Rousse market and the Quai Augagneur market. In Villeurbanne, we can mention the bustling market on Place Grandclément and the market on Place Wilson.
Professional chefs and food industry
The training of future chefs is provided in particular at the School of Culinary Arts and Hospitality, also called Institut Paul Bocuse. In 2008, this institute created a research center which will work on eating behaviors and their relationship to taste, health and the economy. This course leads to a doctorate. The Vatel Institute specializes in hotel management and has many training courses.
The Food Trades Fair, now SIRHA (International Catering, Hotel and Food Fair) brings together gastronomic professionals on the Eurexpo site. During the 2007 edition, more than 1,900 exhibitors and 160,000 visitors walked the aisles of Salon. The world cooking competition has awarded the „Bocuse d’Or“ there since 1987. The edition of the global cooking competition innovates for the year 2008 with the creation of two competitions: the „Bocuse d’Or Asia“, held in Shanghai, China in May and the „Bocuse d ‚, in Norway in July. Lyon hosted the 55 th National Congress of the UMIH (Union of Hospitality Trades and Industries) from November 20 to 22, 2007 at the international city of Lyon. This congress, the most important in the profession, brought together more than one thousand guests representing more than eighty thousand companies to discuss the future of the profession.
The Rhône-Alpes region (now part of the Alpes-Méditerranée Euroregion) is the fourth French region in terms of salaried jobs in the agri-food industry. Lyon cuisine is known for its roses and jesus, sausages of pork and is found in France and abroad, thanks to Roger companies Lyon, France Delicatessen Anselm or cured. GBS and Laurencin distribute the quenelles, specialties of the region.
Lyonnaise cuisine in popular culture
By analogy with the cooks, let us mention a figure of Lyonnais folklore, Mother Cottivet. He is a character embodied by the actor Périgot-Fouquier. He has for partner his own wife who embodies Madame Craquelin. They are known for their humorous appearances on regional radio and then on television in the 1950s and 1960s. Mother Cottivet uses a pataquès to designate her address: she says she lives at „one hundred moin’un“ (one hundred minus one) of the rise of the Grande Côte, where one must of course understand, at the „ninety -new „. His talk uses many references to Lyon cuisine as in his expression which closes his Wednesday chronicles:“On“Wednesday“my belins belines“came“. “ Nizier du Puitspelu, in his dictionary of the Lyonnais language, Le Littré de la Grand’Côte, indicates that the term“ belin „designates in the first sense a lamb and, by extension, readily applies to children, as in the example. culinary: „Do you want a toast made with butter filth, my little belin ?“ “ Today, one of the restaurant Rue du Palais-Grillet was named after that character.
The comic makes reference to Lyon’s cuisine in Le Tour de Gaule d’Astérix. The Gauls are locked in their village by the Romans who build a palisade. In defiance of General Lucius Fleurdelotus, they take the bet to undertake a tour of Gaul to bring back culinary specialties from each region and to invite him to a grand final banquet to prove to him that they will not have lied. Their journey led the two warriors Asterix and Obelix to pass, among others, to Lugdunum, today Lyon. The prefect Encorutilfaluquejelesus gathers his collaborators to prevent them from continuing their bet. A bubble shows one of the Gallic inhabitants who attended this meeting to warn one of his compatriots, Beaufix, who decides to help the Gauls: the cunning of the inhabitants manages to lose the garrison in the alleys, an allusion to the traboules. The Gauls are offered Lyon specialties when they leave the city: sausage and dumplings. The Lugdunum sausage appears at the end of the episode when they detail what they brought back from their turn.