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Lyon, France: The Bouchons of Vieux Lyon
Les Chandelles Bouchon Lyonnais
Plat du Jour
Lyon: Gastronomic Capital of France (and the World)
When my husband told me he had secured a research project in Lyon, I only knew two things about the city: first that it was a major producer of silk in the Middle Ages and second, it was not far from the Swiss border. After doing some research, I was delighted to discover that Lyon is also considered the gastronomic capital of France- and (according to food experts) the world.
Having traveled and eaten my way through much of Europe and especially Italy- where I did gourmet food tours- I was skeptical. Then I moved here and discovered that not only did Lyon offer culinary specialties from France, but I have found food from all over the world. In addition to traditional foods from Portugal, Spain and Italy, there is a wide range of Middle Eastern and North African specialties thanks to a large Muslim population.
There is also a strong Asian influence here (Japanese, Chinese, Thai and Indian). In short, the city is a foodie heaven with many varieties of foods and flavors to delight the palate.
Note: Lyon is also a great place for a writer like me who is inspired by visual imagery. The architecture and artwork is nothing short of superb. The traboules of Lyon were of particular interest, since these medieval secret passageways in the old historic center are so well preserved. During my stay, I wrote an exciting 18th century novel, The Duchess de Nuit.
The most traditional Lyonnaise eatery is known as a bouchon. where local specialties such as sausages, duck pâté or roast pork are served. The dishes are usually quite fatty and heavily oriented around meat. While there are 20 certified eateries that qualify as a bouchon, many other establishments use the title and serve lighter fare like fish. Located in the lovely historical district Vieux Lyon (Old Lyon) is one such bouchon called Les Chandelles.
Most of these establishments offer the plat du jour (special of the day) along with fixed menus with a good selection of dishes to choose from. You can also order a la carte, of course. We chose the 14,90 euro per person formula, which offered an entrée, main course and dessert. I was uneasy about having lunch in such a touristy spot since I tend to avoid such places, but I was pleasantly surprised.The hostess, Bridget (who thankfully speaks English), assured us we would not be disappointed.
And she was right. For our entrees, we chose herring and potato salad tossed in olive oil and herbs, and a delicate pastry filled with creamy goat cheese served over fresh salad greens. Both were quite tasty. Our main courses consisted of "beef of the day" cooked in a savory shallot sauce and served with potatoes (crisp on the outside, buttery on the inside), and "fish of the day" (fresh cod) in a tasty tomato sauce with a side of white rice; both were delicious. Finally, dessert consisted of silky panna cotta drizzled with raspberry reduction, and chilled strawberry soup with a hint of mint. Perfection. Food quality was good, portions were generous and the total bill including decent red house wine and a coffee for my husband was only 37,40 euros.
My food articles are dedicated to travelers who want a good quality meal at a fair price. If you wish to visit this particular bouchon, here is the information:
10, rue Saint-Jean 69005 Lyon
As always, thank you for reading!