Monday, 29 November 2010

Lyon's Les Halles

My good friend Will Harper (Restaurant Manager at Liverpool’s Malmaison, that's him on the left) came to visit for the weekend. Being a man who likes and appreciates good food and wine, as well as the occasional Greggs (I know you do, too!), we decided to visit the gastronomic capital of the world, Lyon (and I thought it was Sheffield Indoor Market).

Well for two northerners who don’t like to show their emotions much… we were mildly impressed.

I’ve spent my time in many a market in France and England: indoor, outdoor, farmers’, foodie, from the cheap and cheerful to the gastronomic and fine – I could probably list it as one of my hobbies. Yet Lyon’s Les Halles indoor market is truly a food paradise. I was like a child in a sweetshop: marvelling at the ultra-fresh produce from the glistening fresh fish to the newly baked sparkling pastries. There were lots of permanent market stalls serving the best produce that France can offer – no wonder Lyon’s Les Halles has become somewhat of an institution to the locals.

And it has five cheesemongers. Five! I didn’t know where to start. So we had a glass of wine to calm down in one of the many side stalls serving produce straight from the market. We then attacked oysters, charcuterie, pastries and fine wine. A house re-mortgage, sore head and happy tummy later, we decided it was time to explore the rest of Lyon.

That was impressive too – as well as being beautiful and historic, this really is a town that revolves around food at every corner. We revolved around the beer. Then the wine. A lovely meal later, and we decided Lyon was definitely a place where we could eat (and drink) well.

But the gastronomic capital of the world? We weren’t too sure… now if they’d had Yorkshire pudding there...

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