Are you planning on visiting the gastronomic capital of France soon? Don’t miss these seven incredible things you must eat in Lyon. The city is world-famous for being the birthplace of many delicious, and inventive, foods so you’ll be sure to never go hungry when visiting Lyon.
1. Pâté en croûte
If you’re a pâté lover, then we feel like pâté en croûte was invented to take it to the next level! Pâté is baked into a savoury pastry, adding a textural crunch to the smooth pâté. Often baked in loaf-form, you can buy it by the slice. We found a particularly beautiful looking (and tasty) pâté en croûte at Les Halles de Lyon Paul Bocuse that was layered with pesto, sundried tomatoes and nuts. Each bite was a pop of flavour that had us coming back for more.
2. Cervelle de Canut
This deliciously creamy Lyonnais specialty is like no other cheese dip you’ve ever had. Cervelle de Canut (or ‘silk workers’ brains’) was created as a breakfast accompaniment for the silk workers of Lyon in the mid 19th century. The base is made from an almost-liquid white cheese, seasoned with chopped shallots, herbs, olive oil, vinegar, salt and pepper. It is incredibly moreish and pairs perfectly with a crusty baguette.
3. Praline brioche
A praline brioche is the perfect snack with its buttery brioche dough studded with bright pink pralines. Auguste Pralus, a Lyonnais pastry chef, was so taken by a nearby rose garden that he decided to dye pralines pink, and the praline brioche was invented in 1955. Many bakeries sell this treat so it’s very easy to find.
4. Saucisson chaud
A Lyonnais saucisson is a traditional cured pork sausage with pistachio nuts, similar to how salami is made. It can be served at room temperature; however, you will often see saucisson chaud on bouchon menus. Sliced and boiled, it is served hot alongside warm potatoes, a crisp salad and fresh bread. It can also be cooked inside a brioche for a different take.
Whilst a simple recipe, a gougère is a perfect mouthful – literally, as these small cheese puffs can be eaten in one bite. Gougère are made from a choux pastry recipe with the addition of grated cheese (usually gruyère or comté) to make it savoury. Devour them on their own, or with a side of cervelle de canut.
6. Quenelles de brochet
A quintessential, but somewhat polarising, Lyonnais specialty is a quenelle de brochet. Pike fish is made into a mousse, shaped into a quenelle (or dumpling form) and poached which can take some patience. Served in a crayfish sauce, this dish is rich, yet light, with a distinct seafood flavour. Some people love it, some people don’t; but it’s worth a try when in Lyon.
7. Coussin de Lyon
Chocolat Voisin, one of Lyon’s famous chocolatiers, invented these cute chocolates. Dark chocolate ganache is flavoured with curaçao, wrapped in green marzipan, and shaped to resemble a cushion. Voisin took inspiration from one of Lyon’s ancient Catholic traditions which involves a procession with a candle on a silk cushion.
Given Lyon is such a foodie’s haven, there are – of course – many more incredible things to tempt your tastebuds; however, this list of seven incredible things is a great starting point. Visit Lyon on one of our French river cruises with Avalon Waterways, or a coach tour in France with Globus.