In Megève, Emmanuel Renaut attracts crowds of gastronomes to his prettily named restaurant, Flocons de Sel, all keen to enjoy his excellent cuisine after a day’s skiing. And La Bouitte in Saint Martin de Belleville, the prettiest village in the 3 Valleys, has just been awarded its 2nd star (2008).
Not forgetting the star awarded in 2007 to Jean Sulpice at the Oxalys restaurant in Val Thorens. This young chef, one of Marc Veyrat’s former pupils, therefore enjoys the distinction of having the world’s highest star, at an altitude of 2300 m.
Between mountain and city, Nicolas Le Bec now possesses two stars at his own restaurant in the centre of Lyon, having won his first awards at the Fermes de Marie and then at the Hôtel Cour des Loges’ restaurant. This young chef is full of new ideas, offering a cuisine that is delicate, elegant and innovative. But he is also constantly on the move.
Hotel Restaurant La Cour des Loges
He is in the throes of opening a brasserie serving international cuisine at Lyon’s Saint Exupéry airport and another in autumn 2008 in the new Confluence district.
In the meantime, Philippe Gauvreau in Charbonnières, has been delighting players at the Casino with his menus, as well as gourmet fans who take the time to enjoy his creative and consistently excellent cuisine.
Jean Christophe Ansanay-Alex, who is based on the Ile Barbe, medieval enclave in the middle of the river Saône, opened his “Ambassade” restaurant in spring 2008 in the South Kensington district of London.
In Vienne, Patrick Henriroux took up a real challenge at the end of the 1980s when he took over the Pyramide in Vienne, that had gained its reputation under Fernand Point. He achieved success with his superb cuisine and excellent wine list offering Côtes du Rhône.
Léon de Lyon, once one of the top Lyon restaurants, was best known for its country cooking style served in gastronomic fashion and interior décor of stained glass, but it closed at the end of 2007. However, Jean Paul Lacombe immediately decided to transform it into an upmarket Brassserie to which all Lyon’s important personalities are flocking. It is always full.
Jean-Paul Lacombe of the Restaurant Leon de Lyon
The Mères Lyonnaises came to fame at the beginning of the 20th C. For the most part they were cooks in middle-class houses who impressed dinner guests with their menus. When the rich citizens of Lyon reduced their household staff, Mère Léa, Mère Filloux and the most famous of all, Mère Brazier (the only woman to have been awarded 3 Michelin stars) opened their own restaurants.
At the beginning of the 21st C, Brazier’s granddaughter Jacotte sold the restaurant in Rue Royale and the good news is that Meilleur Ouvrir de France, Mathieu Viannay decided to set up his own restaurant there in 2006.
The history of Lyon’s bouchons
Bouchons are a very real part of Lyon’s cultural and gastronomic heritage. Initially they were places where people could both eat and get straw with which to rub down, or “bouchonner” their horses.
Bouchons opened very early in the morning and, on the stroke of 8 o’clock, the “canuts” or silk workers from the Croix Rousse district who had got up at 4 o’clock in the morning came in to have a meal. Big bowls of “clapoton” (lambs’ feet), lentils, saveloy sausages, traditional Lyon charcuterie and robust home-cooked dishes were served with jugs of wine.
Well known Bouchon Lyonnais style restaurants
Even today, bottles without labels holding 46 cl of wine instead of the usual 50 cl (by special dispensation to take account of potential sediments) were recognisable by the elastic band around the bottle neck in order to avoid confusion between a Beaujolais and a Côtes du Rhône.
After lunch, the bouchon closed until the next day. Genuine bouchons no longer exist in their original format because the daily habits of city workers have changed somewhat. However, a few of them still try to perpetuate the tradition, more or less successfully. There is an association called “Les Authentiques Bouchons Lyonnais” which lists the best of them.
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