Our August trip to Lyon, France was, without a doubt, incroyable and we saw and ate some pretty special things. In spite of that, one of my most favorite excursions was to the market just prior to our cooking class with Lucy, of Plum Kitchen Lyon.
We walked the entire length of one of the largest Lyon markets, looking at fresh produce, artisan meats and cheeses, and seasonal delicacies.
These squash blossoms are only available a few times per season and we were so excited to find them! Lucy also pointed out the almost imperceptible differences in the eggs of the farmer who’s chickens are happy and who lay eggs the day before she brings them to markt, and the eggs that have been “out” for an indeterminable amount of time. Those are experiences that can’t be replicated!
She introduced us to variations of fruits and veggies that we aren’t accustomed to – like these “vine” peaches. The trees they grow on were plated at the ends of the rows in vineyard. You see, a peach tree has a very delicate immune system and if the peach tree “fell ill” the vintners and grape growers could treat the grape vines before they got sick. The proverbial canary in the mine, if you will. The rich purple tones are so evocative of the grapes they grew next to.
There were two kinds of merchants – the “Producteur” who planted, grew, and harvested or crafted their offerings and those who aren’t Producteurs. For example, the lettuce on the table of a non-producteur might have been purchased and then brought into town for resell… the cheese wasn’t made by the person selling it and the milk used wasn’t from her cow/goat/sheep. It seemed that the producteur’s offerings were of higher quality. Also, the benefit of cultivating a relationship with a producteur is undeniable. They might same you something in short supply because it’s your favorite, or give you a heads up of what is in season or about to be harvested so you can plan meals, or give you first pick of meats or cheeses.
And finally, the amazing French baguette. crispy on the outside and impossibly chewy and soft on the inside. It just, simply put, does not get more French that that!
The market was full of wholesome, fresh, good for the body and the soul food and people. Nestled among the pomp and circumstance that so often accompanies visions of a “trip to France”, I’m so glad we had this experience.