Today was a serious gastronomic tour of Lyon with Hubert. Apparently, yesterday was just dipping our “toe-in-the-water”.
First stop this morning – the local wine specialist “Le Cavieste” to pick up some wine. Hubert explained to us that the shop owner personally knows the vineyards and winemakers of all the wine that he sells. Hubert helped us pick out a special bottle of wine for Georgie, Rick & Liz who we are staying with next.
And where to store our newly purchase wine? In your own “cave” (cellar), of course. Hubert’s cave is really spooky. Literally a dungeon right in the bowels of his 5 storey apartment building. But extremely effective, it keeps wine at a constant temperature all year round, despite Lyon’s wide temperature variations between winter & summer.
Faux Pas #2 from Andy. “How come it’s not wet down here?” Hubert looked at me strangely and then it dawned on me that we were on the top of the hill above Lyon. “Duh and the water would come from where???”
Next stop for the morning was the food hall of Paul Bocuse – “Les Halles Paul Bocuse”. He is is widely regarded as the premier chef of France. His restaurant in Lyon is consistently a 3 Michelin star and he has franchised his name throughout the world. He even had a restaurant in our old home town, Melbourne, for a time.
The Les Halles is a covered market show-casing France’s best produce. This is the place where you will find frog’s legs, foie-gras, snails, oysters, every type of cheese imaginable and the best of smallgoods, seafood and meats. Absolutely and totally mind-blowing.
It was really crowded even at 11am and Hubert wanted us to have lunch here. He suggested that we eat early in case we missed out on a table and he took us at our word that we eat “anything”and grabbed a table at his favourite “Oyster Bar”. Here, we not only ate 2 different types of oysters, but also another shell fish and tiny prawns. Washed down by a cheeky little “chardy” we were not inclined to do much more than watch the crowds surge by us.
This afternoon was about male bonding. A trip to A Vieux Campeur, which is an outdoor store on steroids. Every type of boot, ski, crampon, ice-axe….their catalogue which they give out free is over 1100 pages….it’s like a telephone book. Graeme is in catalogue heaven.
He has also found a fabulous english speaking boot fitter, Quintin, who knew exactly what was wrong with Gra’s telemark boots. Using his oven to mould the boots, Quintin achieved a miraculous result and although he spent 45 minutes with Graeme, there was no charge. What a delightful fellow… we couldn’t go back with a bottle of wine, but we put a great review on the store website specifically mentioning Quintin…so hopefully some good karma will go his way.
Then on to buy some underpants for Graeme. At this point I retired to the apartment to digest my oysters. But you maybe wondering why Gra was buying underpants? Good question? Despite the plethora of hats & gloves, he forgot to bring enough undies. “Why don’t you just cut some leg holes in a couple of your hats and wear them on your bottom”. The men looked blankly at me.
Actually there’s a whole paragraph about “le Underpants Excursion”…but I’m still debating whether to include it in this post. I will see if the draft gets the Graeme “veto” or not. …Standby.
I was relieved when the “oestrogen cavalry” arrived later that evening with Marie returned from Paris. Next off to dinner at their local restaurant “Plato”. We were making jokes about needing a taxi, when the restaurant was literally about 20m horizontally from their apartment building. Vertically it was a total of 208 steps (up & down).
One word! Yum, yum…well ok 2 words.
For main course I had a Lyonnaise speciality called a Quenelle which a subtly flavoured fish mousse dish. [Hard to explain – best to look at the link]. And for dessert, Graeme had to have Creme Brulee. Here’s the video especially for our good friends Lea, Steph and Di. The reference to the “old friend Marie” was because I’d just discovered that she is about 20 days older than me and we will be both celebrating the half century milestone when they next visit us in Arabba. We were both also making jokes about a plastic surgery holiday in Thailand….but decided that we’d prefer to go skiing.
We “rolled home” and attacked the Teste stairwell with gusto. Actually to counteract all the food we’d eaten today, we’d need to go up and down at least a dozen times. No wonder H&M are surprisingly fit.
And guess what? ….we’ve got Sunday lunch with the family tomorrow with Hubert cooking is famous “Pot-au-feu”. [“One more wafer-thin crisp Mr Creosote?”….. the Monty Python fans will understand this reference. ]