My Top 5: Lyon Food Market

Continuing the French series, today I am going to revisit my trip to Halles de Lyon-Paul Bocuse, which is essentially one of the biggest, covered food markets in Lyon. I am equally ashamed and proud to admit that I had only heard of the term ‘les halles’ for food markets from the French pavilion in Epcot (it’s the name of the bakery there and it’s awesome- go there too). As much as I love it there, I loved the real deal even more. For a foodie like me, there was way too much to see, taste and buy, so to prove to you that I can do shorter blog posts, I’ve narrowed down my Top 5 purchases.

1: Tart Lyonnaise

My, oh, my; what a slice of pie. Actually, a tart to be exact. I had never heard of the famous Lyonnaise tart until I was researching for my trip (I feel it’s important to do this when you’re going to one of the gourmet capitals of the world and are only staying for a day…). This sweet treat is exactly that; layers of pretty pink caramel, with almonds interspersed throughout a sweet pastry case. It was decadent, chewy, but surprisingly not overly sweet, due to the sea-salt in the caramel. It seems the Lyonnaise pastry chefs were ahead of their time when it comes to the sea-salt/sweet treat trend. The texture and addition of the nuts made me think of a bright-pink pecan pie; and what can be bad about that?! A real pleasant surprise and I strongly recommend you educate yourselves by eating one. My enthusiasm really took over and I forgot to take a picture before eating, so here is one from the official Lyon tourism site:

Recipe for Lyonnaise tart

2: St Marcellin Cheese

I love cheese. All cheese. So obviously I nearly combusted with joy when walking through Les Halles. There are copious amounts of cheese supplied by several different stalls, and it can even get a bit overwhelming when you want to try them all (I wanted to, I really did). One cheese I knew I needed to try was St Marcellin, another Lyonnaise delicacy. This unpasteurised goat’s cheese looks like a Camembert from the white yeast coating on the outside. The texture is also similar to a brie or Camembert, but as soon as you bite into the creamy, silky flesh (can a cheese have flesh?), there is the unmistakable tang of goat’s cheese. In the most delicious way, a good cheese can sometimes smell of the farm (please tell me you get what I mean); warm hay, animals etc. It’s not overwhelming, but it makes you feel like you can imagine the process from milk to cheese and taste those stages. It was not a strong cheese, but it was definitely satisfyingly moreish and I would recommend to anyone who likes the aforementioned soft cheeses, but who might be a bit wary of goat’s cheese as this is a good in-between.

3: Bayonne Ham

Probably one of the more well-known products to hail from France, but a first for me. Bayonne ham is a cured, sliced charcuterie similar to Parma or Serrano ham. However, unlike the former, I felt that this ham had more depth, perhaps a bit more smoke to it without being overwhelming, and the salt balance was just right. It is a ham that stands up on its own; you don’t need to pair it with a cheese or even a piece of bread, that’s how tasty it is. Go get some, from somewhere.

4: Lyonnaise Sausage in Brioche

Think a hot dog, but fancy. Everywhere in Les Halles are varying sizes of this tasty, simple snack. Essentially, it does what is says on the tin; a frankfurter type sausage (sometimes with variations of herbs/seasonings) placed in the centre of a Brioche loaf and baked. Once sliced, you have something which is like a hot dog-pork pie hybrid, and I’m not mad about that at all. Very simple in flavour, but no less rich than the other highlights, this is the perfect combination of smoke, salt, butter and a little bit of naughtiness.

I’m trying to get better at not eating stuff straight away and having more self control. Until that day, have a picture from Eat, Little Bird.

Lyonnaise Sausage Roll

5: Bellota, Bellota

Ok, this one is a bit controversial, but it’s a Friday and I’m feeling sassy. Bellota, Bellota is a Spanish wine bar and charcuterie supplier in the middle of Les Halles. What I really enjoyed about the market as a whole was the small wine bars and cafe’s that line the middle (a little like Borough Market). We stopped here for a glass of wine, and it was really good. Matt had a glass of red, and I had a glass of white. The white I had was La Cana, available on their website, and it was fantastically crisp and fresh, with notes of apply and peach. It wasn’t too dry, and it quenched my thirst. Matt said his red was medium-full bodied, juicy with red fruits and a slight spice, but we couldn’t remember the name. To be honest, I would be inclined to think most of their wines are fantastic, so take a look on their site and see if there’s anything you fancy (not sponsored, just love wine; also they gave Phoebs free cut-offs from the ham, so they deserve the recognition).

Bellota, Bellota

Anyway, hope you enjoyed our whistle-stop tour of Lyon food market. I would encourage anyone to visit food markets when they’re away; the produce is fresh, the suppliers are passionate and the experience is like no other. Until next time!

Published by TheEnthusiasticEater

Full time teacher; full time foodie. Based in Essex. For any enquiries please email me at or find me on LinkedIn.

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