It was our first time to visit Lyon, France’s third largest metropolitan city. Situated in the East-Central region of France, it takes a three-hour train ride to get here from Paris on the inter city train and the same travel time onwards to Marseille. Lyon is practically somewhere almost in between the French capital and the Mediterranean city if you’re considering crossing France from Paris going to the South.
Lyon is the heart of France’s Rhone-Alpes region at the point where the Rhone and Saone rivers intersect. As what travelers do we went to see the city, enjoyed the sights with its modern, medieval and Renaissance architecture, got transfixed at and fascinated by its ebullient people (mostly of the young generation) as well fellow travelers which is quite an interesting amalgam of French visitors from the north and the south, Asians – Japanese and Koreans, quite a number of Americans and as noted a few Brazilians. Then we got to taste the food.
Ah yes, food. Coming to this city if only for having a ‘fete de la gastronomie‘ is actually acceptable as we have come to know.
Because Lyon aside from being a major historical hub, is a centre of ‘gastronomie‘. The city prides itself both in its traditionnel Lyonnaise and modern French cuisine. In fact Lyon is called “The Gastronomic Capital of France” – a recognition widely accepted, without contest, by the other proud and snotty French cities. Sorry, Paris!
A bright late summer morning spent on walking around both the new and old areas of Lyon really worked up an appetite. A family member who now resides in France recommended we try the traditional Lyonnaise cuisine from a ‘bouchon’. So off we went for that “Bouchon Lyonnaise“experience. Something the gutsy people of Lyon may have obviously been kinda ‘smoasting’ (social media boasting) about even since eons and eons before social media ago – going back to the seventeenth century.
A ‘bouchon‘, a type of restaurant, only found here in Lyon serves traditional Lyonnaise fare that varies from a selection of sausages to duck pate to fish and seafood meat souffle to roast pork. The ‘Bouchon‘ cuisine is quite heavily focused on meats.
They say once you have delved into the food of Lyon you are already deemed a member of the proverbial elite club of culinary and gastronomic bad asses.
Below are the items from the Bouchon plat du jour (meal of the day) that we set out to taste on this very first Bouchon Lyonnaise experience at one of the bouchons in ‘Vieux Lyon’ somewhere on Place St-Jean where you can find most of the best bouchons and cafes.
L’aperitif (the appetizer)
The first dish was Gateau de foie de volaille sur un coulis de tomate (chicken liver cake with tomato coulis).
Gateau de foie de volaille sur un coulis de tomate (chicken liver cake with tomato coulis)
If you’re a big fan of pate or foie then this huge helping is for you to guiltlessly indulge in. The tomato coulis accurately complimented the tang of the pate. And it was a good dip for the bread too. The French being French just love dipping their bread on everything that resembles a sauce. But of course all their sauces are tres de bon gout!
Le plat principal (the main course)
Homard et poisson quenelle Lyonnaise gratinees au four (fish and lobster meat quenelle gratin baked Lyonnaise style)
The main course: Homard et poisson quenelle Lyonnaise gratinees au four (Lyonnaise style baked fish and lobster meat quenelle gratin with a side of ratatouille and rice.
It’s like souffle but it’s not souffle it’s a gratin dish because it does not rise the way a souffle does. And what more can be said of lobster and seafood meat? Who doesn’t love them! We sensed heavy cream with hints of wine – white wine most probably. The veggies were a tad overcooked but we ate them all anyway.
We do not actually need to dwell on the ingredients and attempt to duplicate it for the reason that we simply just cannot. The French have done the job for us on these fine aliments that have taken them generations to muster. Might as well just sit down and enjoy it.. with vin!
Dessert du jour (Dessert of the day)
For desserts we had the classic ‘Creme Brulee‘ everybody loves. Here we were confronted with the quintessential French take on this infamously beautiful, sweet, delicious, and irritatingly perfect dessert number.
There! A cocktail of flavours of authentic Lyonnaise cuisine in one complete meal consisting of these impossible to pronounce individual courses. Though we have yet to sample the other meat offerings of Bouchon dining. Let’s save that for the next visit, shall we?
From this first encounter we were only more convinced it surely won’t be our last. We will definitely come back for more of this city’s gastronomical charm.
Au revoir for now Lyon!