Lyon is the Tasty and Innovative Food Capital of France
By Aysia Reed
Spend a day– or maybe even a week in Lyon, France.
Don’t wear too tight pants when visiting Lyon, because you’re guaranteed to spend the day eating your way around town. For over 80 years, Lyon has been deemed the food capital of France. Lyon has one of the highest concentrations of food per capita in all of France, with over 1,500 restaurants.
The charismatic city is perfect for both food lovers and travelers.
Lyon is a city where a variety of cultures have merged together to create delectable dishes, and their location is to thank.
Lyon is located right between Northern and Southern Europe and is spread out across the Saone and Rhone rivers.
Their excellent location makes for easy access to a variety of top-quality food ingredients. Cultural life is reflected upon their cuisine and is enjoyed nationwide.
Spend a day- or maybe even a week in Lyon, France. This guide gives first-timers, or even regulars, a guide to the perfect day spent in the food capital of France, and how the city has the best food in the world.
What’s The Difference?
But what’s different about Lyon compared to other food capitals like Paris or New York?
Each area in Lyon has its very own twist on authentic French cuisine.
The city is well known for its specialty cheeses, smoked sausages, creamy mashed potatoes, and farm-fresh vegetables. The most well-known and favorite dish in Lyon is their famous quenelles, which is a mixture of creamed fish with breadcrumbs that is poached. Although the city is most well known for its fish entree, the food capital surely has the utmost expertise in every category.
Calling All Meat Lovers
As Lyon natives say, Tout est bon dans le cochon! This expression means “no wasted parts in pork,” and that’s safe to say with Lyon’s pork dishes.
Rosette is the most popular pork choice in Lyon, and it is a must-try. Rosette is a cured sausage and is dried out for three months.
The pork gets its name from the blush pink color of the meat. You can eat the sausage in slices, or you can purchase an entire large slab of Rosette to enjoy.
Similar to Rosette is the Jesus de Lyon sausage, which is much larger in size, and often paired with fluffy Lyon mashed potatoes and fresh veggies.
If sausage is not your forte, order poularde, which is fatted chicken. The chicken is cooked inside of a pig’s bladder, and then enjoyed with high-quality truffles.
For Those Who Love Dessert
If you have more of a sweet tooth, indulge in Lyon’s Voisin shops! These shops have multiple locations in Lyon, and specialize in candies. The Coussin de Lyon is known as the true ambassador treat of the city and is internationally recognized.
The treat is made of a smooth chocolate ganache and is lined with a delicate layer of candied marzipan. It is curated with a patterned recipe.
Quenelle chocolates are also a native dessert. Quenelles are made of Piedmont hazelnut and cocoa pieces blend, and then paired with pralines and fresh almonds. The mixture is coated in light white chocolate.
Ice cream is a necessity, and Terre Adelice ice cream shop has an array of homemade, organic options. The quirky and unusual flavors make for an outstanding experience, unlike any other creamery.
Muscat rasini, lavender, and blood orange are a few of their unusual flavors; but they of course have the basics such as chocolate or vanilla for those who like to play it safe.
Travelers from across the globe have stumbled upon this mom-and-pop shop, and have been pleased with their experiences.
Amy Z., a traveler from Chicago, said “As I strolled down the cobblestone street of this historic part of Lyon, my eyes lit up.
The immense variety of flavors and the minimalist style pulled me in. I was already in love with the gastronomy city of Lyon after several delicious meals. Finding THE perfect sorbet was like the cherry on top.”
Lyon Wine and Cheese
You’re in the perfect place for cheese if you’re in Lyon, France.
The city’s Saint-Marcellin cheese is a famous mottled creamy cheese made from cow’s milk. The cheeses’ history dates back all the way to the 15th century when a king was gifted the cheese from two woodcutters that saved him from a bear attack. The saint Felicien cheese is a cousin to the royal cheese and has a similar taste. The only difference is that it’s a tad creamier.
The city’s saint Felicien and saint-Marcellin cheeses would make for a perfect snack to accompany with their wine. Wine shops are around every corner in Lyon, so no need to fret. Antic Wine, Maison Malleval, and Chez Thomas are a few of the many wineries to choose from in Lyon and are some of the top contenders.
These shops offer wine with notes of Burgundy, Bordeaux, or Rhone– all superb flavors to enjoy while strolling the town.
Ending the evening with a glass of wine and some cheese makes for a picturesque French day, and must be enjoyed at the La Croix-Rousse, a hilltop that overlooks the food capital.
The peak was historically a silk manufacturer, and the current houses on the hill were used as major hub areas for Europe’s textile making. The rich history and striking view of the historic houses give a great opportunity for foodies and travelers alike to relax and observe.
The historic silk manufacturers on the hill are open to visitors if you are interested in the history behind it.
Food Markets in Lyon
Strolling through Lyon and stumbling across a fresh food market is not an unusual sight. Farmers across the city set up their own markets, and sell their produce.
Located along the Saone River is the well-known Saint Antoine Farmers market. Dozens of metal buckets topple over with an array of potatoes, carrots, and sweet potatoes freshly picked. Containers of sweet fruit are lined up on tables, ready to be sold.
Traveler Jenny N from Canada visited the market and only has positive words of affirmation. “Excellent produce, cheese, and very good fishmongers and butchers. I bought a rabbit saddle from one stall and a beautiful turbot from another. The fish was expertly filleted and you could tell the guy was serious about his product,” she said.
Not only does the Saint Antoine market sell fresh food, but flowers and wine as well.
Find out more about visiting Lyon.
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