Lyon is known as one of the gastronomical capitals not just of France, but of the whole world. It is the largest city in the Rhone-Alps region of France, and its cuisine is richly influenced by the neighboring regions of Provence, the Alps and Burgundy. Of nearly 2000 restaurants in Lyon, at least 16 were rated with Michelin Stars in 2011, including the first French Michelin 3-star restaurant owned by Mere Brazier, and L’Auberge du Pont de Collonges owned by Brazier’s protege and top chef in France, Paul Bocuse.
Lyon’s Lively Food Market
The Saint Antoine open market along the Saone River displays all the culinary traditions in Lyon. Locals and tourists throng its alleyways in the hope of getting the freshest breads, meats, cheese, fruits, vegetables and flowers. Wine and local delicacies can also be sampled here.
Bouchons and Brasseries: Must-Visits in Lyon
The French word bouchon literally translates to cork and originates from the straw corks that innkeepers would hang on their signboards to indicate to stagecoaches passing by that they offered wine at non-meal hours. Today, Lyon has many small roadside restaurants called bouchons that serve local gastronomical specialties.
One of these signature dishes is the quenelle: a light, oven-baked fish or chicken dumpling sometimes flavored with creamy sauces. Other must-have delicacies while in Lyon are pastry stuffed with pork sausage, artichoke with foie gras, and pullet hen with black truffles. A cheese platter is an essential course at any meal; the meats and cheese are accompanied by freshly-baked crusty baguettes and delicious local Noveau Beaujolais wine. For dessert, the talented chocolatiers offer a range of macaroons, praline tarts and pastries to drive anyone with a sweet tooth crazy.
Bouchons offer a unique yet affordable dining experience that stands out during a tour of Europe. Some of the most popular bouchons in Lyon are: Le cafe des Federations, La Machonnerie, Chez Paul, Chez Abel and La Mere Jean are. There are also fine restaurants called brasseries serving home-brewed beer, and delicious French and international cuisine amid a lively ambience.
What Makes Lyon a Food-Lover’s Paradise?
Lyon is home to some of the most talented chefs and finest restaurants in Europe. All the locals love to cook and eat food, never tiring to talk about it all day long. There is a close association with food anywhere in the city, right from the hills where the various produce are grown to the lively markets where they are sold and finally in the restaurants where they are served. Lyon takes you on such an exciting food adventure that it truly deserves its title as the gastronomic capital of the world.
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Candice has a passion for European food and travel, and works for TravAddict.