As one usually accompanies the other, wine enthusiasts often also share a passion for fine food – making Lyon, the gastronomic capital of France, a must-travel destination that will satisfy all senses.
The streets of France’s elegant second city are crammed with extraordinary restaurants ranging from traditional, family-owned bistros to modern Michelin starred restaurants attracting the world’s best chefs; if the Lyonnais are not eating food, they are at least talking about.
For foodies, such a unique setting is best explored as part of a Lyon food tour – where the focus is on combining local produce and fine wines to create memorable, rustic tasting experiences away from the crowded streets of Paris.
At Wine Paths, our local experts can arrange exclusive Lyon food tours of the city that can be tailormade to your exact requirements while ensuring every detail is taken care of before you arrive.
A typical Lyon food tour will take visitors to a variety of different restaurants and eateries, accompanied by a culinary expert to guide you through tastings. There is often also the opportunity to shop for local produce at remarkable markets or even take a class to learn how to prepare traditional meals.
Lyonnaise cuisine is based on the principles of quality and simplicity – with a menu that tends to be dominated by a few classics from the region. Pork is practically ever present – with a general rule that ‘tout est bon dans le cochon’, which loosely translates as ‘if it’s pig, it’s getting served’.
Among other recognised staples are: salade Lyonnaise, a green salad served with lardons, croutons; gratin dauphinois, a traditional French dish based on potatoes and crème fraiche; quenelles, small seasoned balls of meat or fish; and andouilletes, large coarse-grained sausages.
In addition, there are variety of Lyonnaise saucissons, traditional cheeses – including St Marcellin and St-Felicen from nearby Isere – and too many desserts to name, although Les bugnes, Coussin de Lyon and tarte praline should not be missed.
Of course, a Lyon food tour would not be complete without wine and the town’s proximity to renowned wine regions, including Beaujolais to the north and the Cotes du Rhone to the south, means the two essential ingredients are never too far apart.
Location, location, location! – Lyon is surrounded by some of the finest local ingredients in France, including: summer vegetables from Charolais, lake fish from Savoy, game from the Dombes, pork from Monts u Lyonnais and ‘royal’ chickens from Bresse.
Sheer number of restaurants – with over 1,500 eateries, Lyon has more restaurants per capita than any other city in France. These range from traditional bouchons (small, family-owned bistros serving a specific cuisine) to 13 Michelin starred restaurants, which have attracted the country’s leading chefs.
Culinary traditions – as well as mainstays such as bouchons, Lyon has also preserved the great tradition of mâchon; a heavy mid-morning meal that typically features a pate starter, meat main course topped with a sauce and finishes with cheeses.
Incredible markets – visitors can find the best local produce at Les Halles de Lyon, an indoor market that was built in 1971 before being renovated and renamed after leading French chef Paul Bocuse in 2006. There are also many outdoor markets, including the Boulevard de la Croix-Rousse, where prices are lower and visitors can experience the local way of life.
SIRHA food exhibition – SIRHA was founded in in Lyon in 1983 and has become the biggest international trade fair dedicated to the food and hospitality industry in the world. There are 17 professional competitions during SIRHA, including the very prestigious international ones like Bocuse d’Or and Coupe de Monde de la Patisserie.
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