Now that you’ve had a tasting of some of Lyon’s best Bouchons and bistros in my last post, now it’s time to cover Lyon’s best pâtisseries, chocolate and macaron shops.
What are Lyon’s Pink Pralines?
It doesn’t take long to discover Lyon’s most popular candy/confectionary speciality walking past the bakeries along the historic Rue Saint Jean in the old town and all around the city: sweetly welcoming windows are filled with bright pink pralines.
Les Pralines roses are simply coated almonds in pink coloured sugar. Although you can eat them tel quel (as they are), they’re traditionally used in pink praline brioches or in the local tarts (Tartes aux pralines rose).
Lyon’s Best Chocolate & Macarons
With world-famous chocolate producer Valhrona only an hour’s drive south in Tain-l’Hermitage, it’s no surprise that Lyon’s chocolate shops are well covered (or well coated?).
If you do have the chance to venture to Tain-l’Hermitage during your Lyon visit, then why not visit the Valhrona Cité du Chocolat and chocolate shop (there are tons of chocolates to try – each time my husband goes in I have to drag him out like a little boy!). And just around the corner you could finish up with wine-tastings at Chapoutier and Jaboulet, while you’re at it.
Bernachon specialises in making their own chocolate from bean to bar and there are many other award-winning chocolatiers around, such as Philippe Bel, Bruno Saladino, Bernard Dufoux, to name a few.
Richard Sève, award-winning chocolatier who makes chocolate from bean to bar, and pâtissier, was the first to come up with savoury macarons – something I am rather partial to myself (See chapter of savoury mini macaron recipes in my first book, Mad About Macarons). His first savoury macaron was with foie gras, a world first! He now has another chocolate shop and museum (MUSCO), which opened in October 2017.
Lyon’s Top Candy Specialities
Since 1897, Voisin has been roasting not only chocolate beans but also coffee beans and are renowned for inventing the Coussin de Lyon, chocolate ganache covered in Curaçao marzipan, made a patrimonial French speciality in 1960.
If you can’t get to Lyon, then you can still find them in Paris in speciality chocolate shops (e.g. De Neuville) and at Le Bonbon au Palais (they come in pink and purple as well as the traditional turquoise coussins), along with other Lyonnais confections, such as le Bouchon (a cork) and le Cocon, resembling a more delicious kind of silk worm, in homage to the famous Lyonnais silkworkers – more on my French regional confectionary post here.
Lyon’s Best Pâtisseries
For delicious bread plus three varying types of the local doughnut-like speciality, bugnes lyonnaises, head to Ô Fournil des Artistes (next to the Maison de Canuts). En route via the Grande Rue de la Croix-Rousse, try more pink pralines at Alain Rolancy, MOF.
The family Maison Pignol, run by Meilleur Ouvrier de France, Jean-Paul Pignol, is a veritable gourmet oasis in such a gastronomic capital, covering traiteurs (delicatessens) to brasseries to restaurants – and his original love of traditional patisseries, from Paris-Brest to the Baba au Rhum. You’ll particularly love to stop at his patisserie in rue Emile Zola for a taste of macarons and 50 varieties of pastries and cakes. I shall be returning to Lyon since I can’t believe I missed his speciality, la Tarte Ecossaise (Scottish Tart)!
Just around the corner from the chocolate concept store Chokola (check out the mesmerising chocolate wall fountain), you’ll also see chocolate lipsticks, caviar, and the Maca’Lyon caramel macaron completely dipped in chocolate continuing at the legendary patisserie of Sébastien Bouillet (Place de la Croix-Rousse). Moreover, to be totally Bouillet-ed, right next door is his new popular local bakery, Goûter.
With echoes of yesteryear, such a charming window lures us in with cooling tarts and cakes winking at us behind the panes. Long cakes, a sausage-shaped tarte tatin and brioches are cut to size, as they’re sold by the length: imagine asking for half a meter of Tarte Tatin?
As if that’s not enough, buttery financiers and scalloped madeleines tempt us further at the counter (recipes for these are in my latest book, Teatime in Paris).
No gourmet Lyon trip can be complete without a taste of the famous Praluline invented by August Pralus in 1955.
Today François Pralus continues to make this sumptuously sticky brioche, rising in another league, using almonds from Valence and Piémont hazelnuts to create the most compact pink praline buttery brioche in the city. After working at Bernachon, François Pralus also makes his own chocolate from bean to bar – and macarons, of course!
Lyon’s Best Tea Salons
If relaxing in a tea salon is more your style, then a great tea list can be found in Rue de la République at La Maison Debeaux (OK, I admit to being seduced by the Kama Sutra tea). They also do a great saucisson brioché (typical regional sausage-filled brioche), as well as a whole counter of tempting salads and savouries – for more on the subject, see my previous post on Gourmet Lyon. If you still haven’t had time to try pink pralines in any form, then you have no excuse, as Debeaux’s pinky goody selection would have Barbie in raptures. See my previous visit to Debeaux.
Moreover, Anticafé (9 rue du bât d’Argent, near the Opéra) is worth checking out just around the corner from Debeaux for its catching new concept. At Anticafé (like its sister in Paris), you pay by the hour: so sit back and relax for 5 euros with free included beverages or drinks and nibbles while you work or meet-up and, although not advertised, they did tip me the wink that they don’t mind if you bring your own doggie-bag of pastries from local bakeries.
After a taster of a selection, what would you choose?
This post is not at all sponsored. As always, all opinions are my own.