What makes Lyon unique is that it is a major market centre at the heart of extensive areas of highly productive agricultural land. It is from these generous lands that chefs obtain the ingredients for their exquisite dishes, purchasing produce directly from local producers, who work with the seasons and, therefore, promote proximity, freshness and flavour! The restaurant tables of Lyon offer an abundance of products from around the region.
Why is Lyon gastronomy so famous?
It is among the best in France, perhaps even in the world, because it uses top-class regional produce. We are at the intersection of several food-producing areas: Charolais beef, Bresse chicken, Auvergne cheeses and fish from the lakes in the foothills of the Alps. Furthermore, our gastronomy is based mainly on the local terroir, it is a simple style of cookery which just brings out the best in the products (Grégory Cuilleron, young local chef and winner of several TV cookery competitions)
But what local specialities is the city famous for?
There are sweet and savoury ones... Here’s our selection:
Let’s start with something savoury!
Fancy an aperitif?
First, try some Rosette de Lyon cured sausage or grattons (pork scratchings).
- Salade Lyonnaise (even better with dandelion! poached eggs, bacon lardons and fried croutons)
- Lentil salad (otherwise known as ‘poor man’s caviar’)
- Lyon sausage (which can be made with pistachios or truffles) ) - perfect with boiled potatoes.
- Traditional pike or chicken quenelles (soufflé)
- Andouillette Lyonnaise (veal sausage - only with calf’s ruffle!)
- Tablier de sapeur (breaded beef tripe)
- Bresse chicken
- Cardoon gratin with bone marrow.
- Cervelle de canut
- Rigotte de Condrieu
You’ll certainly enjoy some white or red Beaujolais, Coteaux du Lyonnais or Côtes du Rhône wines, or maybe even treat yourself to some Côte-Rôtie (in moderation!)
And lastly, something sweet to round off the meal!
You'll adore the delicious Bugnes Lyonnaises – crisp or fluffy fritters flavoured with orange blossom or lemon zest!
Those with a really sweet tooth won’t be able to resist pink praline tart – an omnipresent treat in the city’s patisseries.
… Or they may well enjoy a Coussin de Lyon a marzipan ‘cushion’ filled with curaçao-flavoured chocolate ganache.
The city has this abundance of top-quality products to thank for its wonderfully diverse cuisine.
So it’s no surprise that the city became known as “the capital of gastronomy”! In fact, it was the famous food critic Curnonsky who first used this description in 1935 – and it has stuck ever since.