8 delicacies from Lyon that'll make your mouth water

Thanks to the restaurant institution of the Lyon Mothers and the legendary Paul Bocuse, Lyonnais gastronomy is part of the traditions and popular culture of the city. Its rich history rests as much on its typical Lyonnais bouchons and its gourmet restaurants as on its many savory and sweet culinary specialties available throughout the metropolis. Let's give it a taste!


Traditionally served for Mardi Gras, Lyonnaise bugnes are small, flat and crispy yellow donuts and a big favorite of Lyonnaise sweets. They are made from flour, eggs, butter, sugar and an aromatic (often orange blossom). The bugnes tradition settled in Lyon in the 16th century with Italian merchants. Their name comes from the Lyonnais term "bugni" meaning a donut.

Pink pralines

A word of caution for those with a sweet tooth: when you start to snack on pralines, it is difficult to stop. A Lyonnaise specialty dating from the 19th century, pink praline is a confection consisting up of an almond or a hazelnut coated with caramelized sugar dyed pink. Its crunchy texture and taste are inimitable. It's most known as a stand-alone candy, but pink praline owes its notoriety to the brioche studded with the confection, called Saint-Genix!


The flagship of Lyon gastronomy, Saint-Marcellin is a cheese made from cow's milk, both sweet and creamy. Saint-Marcellin is unusual, as it can be eaten at all stages of maturation. Generally found on cheese platters, Saint-Marcellin is not uncommonly added to give sauces a creamy flavor. The cheese's name comes from the namesake Isère village, very close to Lyon.

Cervelle de canut

Cervelle de canut (literally: "Silk worker's brain", but not made with actual brain matter), also called claqueret, is a cheese typical of the Lyon region. Typically, it is eaten alongside an aperitif as a starter. Cottage cheese is beaten with crème fraîche, white wine or wine vinegar, or with olive oil, garlic, chives, parsley and chopped shallots. Lovers of Lyonnais specialties generally consume it accompanied by potatoes, salad and toasts points. This cheese dish owes its name to the canuts, the lyonnais silk weavers.


This is one of the greatest symbols of Lyonnais cuisine. These savory dumplings are elongated morsels made from flour dough, bread crumbs and choux pastry. Among the great classics are quenelles au brochet pike dumplings, served with the famous Nantua sauce made with crayfish butter. They can also be prepared with poultry, veal, mushrooms or just plain with béchamel sauce. Quenelles of Lyon appeard on the culinary scene in the 1830s, invented by a certain Charles Morateur, pastry chef by trade. To avoid waste, this gentleman had the idea of mixing pike meat, present in large quantities in the waters of the river Saône, with choux pastry.

Brioche sausage

One of Lyon's most iconic specialties is brioche sausage. A dish that's best enjoyed en famille on weekends, this legendary Lyonnais sausage is often decorated with pistachios or black truffles during the holiday season. The meat is placed within a blanket of soft brioche dough before being baked. Brioche sausage is sliced before being eaten as a starter or main course, usually accompanied by a salad. It can be eaten cold but its flavors are more intense when eaten warm.

Lyon rosette

Ah, Lyon rosette! The notoriety of this dry sausage délice of peasant origin goes far beyond borders. The rosette de Lyon is made entirely of pork, bacon fat, spices and garlic tips. It can be enjoyed by the slice as an aperitif, as a starter or even cooked into a meal. This sausage's best friends? Slices of bread and cheese.

Tablier de sapeur

Tripe and giblets hold a special place in Lyon's gastronomy (Lyon's famous motto is "Avec le cochon, tout est bon" or "With pig, every bite is good"). With tablier de sapeur, the proof is in the pudding: this typical dish is made from double fat marinated in white wine and cooked in broth just before being breaded. The tablier de sapeur (literally, "sapper's apron") takes its name from Marshal de Castellane, military governor of Lyon under Napoleon III and former engineer sapper. Engineers wore a leather apron to protect their outfit during heavy work. It’s almost natural that the name of this dish has evolved to honor this tradition.

Getting to Lyon