Where to buy your bugnes in Lyon?
As Shrove Tuesday approaches, one question is on everyone's lips: where to find these sweet little marvels?
Here is our selection of addresses in Lyon:
A bit of History...
They were born in the Duchy of Savoy in the fifteenth century. After gracing the tables of the nobility, they invaded the Rhône Valley, Franche-Comté, Auvergne, Loire and Lyon.
Bugnes (a Gallicization of the Lyonnais term ‘bugni’) made their first official appearance in 1538, in Pantagruel, François Rabelais’ dream-like, food-filled fable.
Variants of the bugne can be found in Spain, Italy (historians assert that 'chiacchiere' were eaten as early as the Carnival of Ancient Rome), Belarus, Germany, Hungary, Lithuania, Romania, Sweden and other countries. They all share the characteristics of being soft, greasy, sweet and delicious.
Bugnes : soft or crispy?
In the Dictionnaire Universel de Cuisine Pratique (a bible for French gastronomes), which was published in the late nineteenth century, the Swiss author, Joseph Favre, devoted several paragraphs to these sweet fritters from Lyon. He did not, however, specify whether they should be thick or thin.
A case of Swiss neutrality? The etymological origin of the word throws no light on the matter, ‘bugni’ simply being the old Lyonnais word for ‘beignet’ (French for fritter or doughnut). Then, the ‘oreillette’ appeared... This was a thin, crispy variety of the beignet. It was a sweet treat from Languedoc and Provence, which celebrated the end of Lent. The bugne of Lyon, on the other hand, has a more spongy consistency.
To settle the argument, bugnes were originally soft beignets. A branch of their evolution then led to them becoming crispy.
Should one say ‘la bugne’ or ‘les bugnes’?
The Académie Française is categorical: this word only exists in the plural feminine form. So ‘les bugnes’ it is. Then, which makes sense, as who could possibly resist the temptation of a second, or third...
On that note, happy Shrove Tuesday to you and above all: enjoy!