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Friday, October 15, 2010

What-What: La Cuisine de Lyon

Since I lived on 'Rue des Marronniers', I was inspired to write a post about 'La Cuisine Lyonnaise'.  Remember, my street, has about 12 different 'bouchons'; renowned and.. well.. frankly CHEAP.

Shall we?

Lyon cuisine is a regional specialty much like most regions of France claim- the difference is the homey atmosphere that comes along with the meal, as well as the multitude of animal by-products used in several of the well-known dishes.

Several famous chefs started or succeeded in this region, two off the top of my head are of course; 'Paul Bocuse', which is a name that cannot be missed if you live in Lyon, and 'Jacques Pepin', equally as known- except he started here and then moved on to success in America.

Starting from the aperitif to the desserts- this regions has lists of specialties that I will try to explain and detail briefly.

A Typical Lyonnaise Meal...

Kir, unmixed.

The Aperitif
This begins with a drink called, 'kir'.  Kir is made with a blending of a sparkling wine or white wine and the 'crème de cassis bourgouignenne'.  It's very sweet and resembled a blackberry syrup- although the actually English name is 'black currants'.

For a snack, it is typical to eat fried pig fat which resembles fried pork skins in America.  It's crispy, and Lyonnaise cuisine introduces it in the beginning because they are known for their 'pork products'.

After everyone is done crunching on pork grisle and drinking the Kir; in Lyon we move onto entrance.  There are several choices for this course.. so I'll be listing.
  • Saucisson:  Different varieties of dried sausages, often pork, served sliced with bread and mini pickles
  • Gateaus:  It's fairly common in Lyon to eat 'salty cakes' for entrance, these are often like the way Banana bread is made, but made salty with livers or tuna.
  • Salade Lyonnaise:  Super specialty made with lettuce and bacon.. plus a poached egg.  It's like a breakfast salad.
  • Fried Tripe (innards):  We start here with the entrails of cows.  Breaded and fried... keep an open mind!

 Plats Principaux
  • Black Sausage:  A cooked sausage made of blood...
  • Andouillette:  Not to be confused with 'andouille' from the Creole cuisine in Louisiana.  Don't be invited by the description in french of 'fraise' because it doesn't resembled strawberries- it's intestines cooked into sausage form.. and I've tried this.  It.. well.. an 'acquired taste'. 
  • Le Sabodet:  Pork head sausage.
  • Poulet a la fricassee:  Chicken cooked in a creamy garlicky sauce, very delicious.
  • Gratin Dauphinois:  Potatoes cooked simply with garlic and cream.
  • Les Quenelles:  This is a forcemeat of seafood, often served in a creamy 'languistine' sauce, very delectable and super rich.
  • (Noel) Cardon:  A type of plant vegetable cooked in a cream sauce, often for Christmas.
  • Tartiflette:  A GREAT hangover food, basically like a hot potato salad with bacon, reblochon and cream.  Super dense.
Les Fromages
Lyon has several cheeses that are specialties to the region:  St. Marcellin (soft and subtle, goat);  St. Felician (also soft, creamy) and the Reblochon (melty and works well in sauces or melted dishes, not often served as a 'cheese platter' item.

Les Desserts
Marzipan in Lyon

 Things that are 'praliné' are kind of resemblant of the candy coating in 'boston baked beans'.  Crunchy and red.  Les bugnes come out for Mardi Gras, and are fluffy donuts, often referred to as 'beignets' in Louisiana.  A real cultural speciality is the 'cuisson de Lyon' which is like little almond paste pillows, often these are made into speciality shapes... 'Marzipan' in English.

Wine in Lyon
Is often tied to the 'Beaujolais' region of France, common in red wines.  Learn more here about these types of wines.

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