What is a Bouchon in Lyon?

Onlylyon by Appetit Voyage

Let me introduce you to the most important culinary experience in France: Lyon's cuisine, the Capital of World Gastronomy!
Bouchon in Onlylyon by Appetit Voyage
Bouchon Brasserie

A bouchon in French means cork usually,... except in Lyon where it is used to designate the typical bistrots of the city! The name refers to some bunches of branches that were used to be hold on the doors to indicate the bistrots.

The Bouchon tradition is something still so important in Lyon that you cannot stop to this city and not have a lunch or dinner in some of them, if you want to taste the truly cuisine from Lyon. 
It is not for nothing that Lyon is often called the Gastronomic Capital of the World! This mythic quote comes from a very famous gastronomic critic, Curmonsky in 1934. Of course the bouchon tradition is a pillar of the gastronomy!
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Beaujolais's pot
Lyon is at a crossroad of the richest regions of France: wines and charolais from Burgundy, Beaujolais wines, Bresse world famous for its poultry, Dombes lakes full of fishes, Savoy and all the wines and cheese, Ardèche famous for the chestnuts and the South of Lyon is the gate of the garden of France! With such surroundings, it is easy to understand how the Lyon's cuisine became so refined and delicious.

Bouchons appeared in the beginning of the 19th Century, when first restaurants started to appear in France. At that moment, women from the bourgeoisie, Les Mères, in Lyon started their own business and opened small restaurants where you can still find nowadays simple dishes, but always refined and elegant. Though, Lyon's cuisine includes often pork meat and it is quite heavy food for us nowadays.

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Saucisson Brioché
Typical dishes in the bouchon repertoire include:
- Soupe de courge * pumpkin soup: made famous by Paul Bocuse! 

- Salade de foies de volailles * Chicken liver salad: lettuce with pan fried chicken livers
- fromage de tête de porc * pork head cheese : it is a kind of meat jelly terrine made with meats from the pork head and seasoned with herbs.
- cochonnaille de porc * cold meats: rosette, jésus, saucisson are different kind of air cured pork meat

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Gâteau de foies de volailles
- salade Lyonnaise * lyonnaise salad: lettuce with bacon, croutons, mustard dressing, and a poached egg 
- gateau de foies volaille * chicken liver custard: chicken liver custard tart usually served with a tomato sauce and quenelles
- boudin noir * blood sausage: usually served with potatoes puree and warm apples 

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Truffled cooked sausage
- saucisson cuit * cooked sausage: this is a boiled big sausage that could have pistachios or truffles inside and served with boiled potatoes and butter.
- saucisson brioché * sausage in brioche: this is the same cooked sausage put in a brioche,... delicious!
- Andouillette * pork offal sausage: sausage of pork tripes covered with bread crumbs.

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Cardoon gratin
Tripes à la lyonnaise * assorted offal gratin: pan fried tripes in thin pieces with onions and garlic and grilled in the oven with bread crumbs. It is usually served with potatoes puree.
- Tablier de sapeur * Breaded Tripe: it is part of the beef stomach that has a typical shape of honeycomb, boiled and marinated in white wine before to be pan fried with bread crumbs.
- Quenelles sauce Nantua: ground pike fish dumplings served with a sauce Nantua and écrevisses * crayfish
- Grenouilles * frogs:... yes, I know,... I am a frog eater! With garlic, parsley and butter,... you should really try it once in your life! This was my favorite dish when I was a kid during the endless meals with the family!
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Tablier de Sapeur
- Coq au vin * rooster in wine sauce: a Burgundian traditional stew with red wine, onions and bacon.
- Pot au feu * pot roast: this the most popular French stew made with beef meats like oxtail or marrow bone with turnips, potatoes, leeks, celery and carrots.
- Poulet de Bresse aux morilles ou poulet de Bresse à la crème * chicken with morels or chicken with cream sauce: chicken from Bresse is so special, delicate and tasty, you need to try it once in your life! If you want to know why, check more info about the Bresse PDO, check my post: Les Glorieuses de Bresse and my quick and easy recipe Fast Bresse Style Chicken.
- Cardon à la moelle * cardoon in bone marrow: a very typical vegetable prepared in gratin with a kind of béchamel, cream and flavoured with bone marrow.
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Typical Cheese
- Cervelle de canut * fresh cheese with herbs: fresh cheese spread seasoned with garlic, shallot, parsley and chives, olive oil and vinegar, salt and pepper. The word canut was the name of the silk workers in the 19th Century in Lyon.

- Saint-Marcellin or Saint-Félicien: soft cow's milk cheese coming from the close by region Isère.
- Fromage blanc à la crème * fresh cheese with cream:
- Tarte praline * praline tart: tart with almonds and sugar and cream. Pralines are coated with a pink sugar so the tart has a bright pink color!
- Tarte au citron meringué: lemon meringue pie

- bugnes de Lyon: miniature deep fried doughnuts also called angel wings!
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More info in my post: Carnival of pastries and treats

All these marvellous specialities can be found in most of the bouchons in the city. Since 1997, an association to preserve the Bouchons Lyonnais had been created and gathered around 20 bouchons selected by 6 gastronoms recognised with the label Bouchon Lyonnais. This label will help you find good addresses:

Chez Abel, Brunet, Café des deux places, Café des fédérations, Chabert et fils, Daniel et Denise, Chez Georges le petit bouchon, Les gones, Hugon, Le Jura, Chez Marcelle, Le Mercière, La mère Jean, Le mitonné, Le Morgon, Le musée, Chez Paul, Les Trois Maries, A ma vigne, and Le Vivarais (the list may have some changes).
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Lentils salad with sausage

Each bouchon has its own decoration and atmosphere. I encourage you to try one of them at least at your next stop in Lyon on your way to ski or Mediterranaen sea. I hope you will enjoy it! See you in Lyon!And do not forget to share this post if you liked it!

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