Destinations / JOURNEY
plate and squeezing the juice over the top. The unique pre-
sentation was only surpassed by the dish’s flavor.
An exciting part of the trip for me was a pilgrimage to
the market Les Halles de Lyon Paul Bocuse, created by the
celebrated chef, now 88 years old. It was a shrine of food
worship. Everything was in its most fresh, perfect and
pristine of forms: The whole chickens remained intact with
their heads and some feathers to illustrate their freshness,
and the raw milk cheeses were kept at varying temperatures
and humidities to best showcase their character. Needless to
say, even a non-foodie would leave happy.
Chef Bocuse has five restaurants in Lyon: the main haute
cuisine restaurant, L’Auberge du Pont de Collonges, a recipient of three Michelin stars, and four brasseries, each named
after a region surrounding Lyon and specializing in its particular cuisine. At Le Sud (“The South”), you will find dishes
like salade niçoise, osso buco, Bresse chicken tagine with
lemon and fisherman’s soup. Simple and exquisite.
A visit to Lyon would not be complete without a
rural exploration of the surrounding wineries. We took
a relaxed one-hour drive through the countryside to
Domaine du Vissoux for a planned private barrel tast-
ing of a dozen Beaujolais. Housed in an old bucolic
brick structure, Domaine du Vissoux is a family-run
wine estate in the Pierres Dorées (golden stone) area in
southern Beaujolais. As a gift for the occasion, I had pre-
pared my own version of pâté en croûte. My efforts were
rewarded as Pierre-Marie Chermette, the winemaker,
casually unwrapped the package, laid out the contents on
a brick-like mallet used for pounding in the barrel bung,
turned to one of the barrels and drew out a glass for us
each. He also pulled out his pocketknife and in the spirit
of sharing sliced some of his own wild boar sausage for us
to sample. I couldn’t have written a more authentic chef-
meets-winemaker moment in a movie script.
Arriving back at the hotel, Ethan and I were humbled
to find that our new friends and hosts had prepared a classic lyonnaise feast for us. Starting with snails and fresh
churned butter, succulent sardines preserved in local oil,
anchovies and just-shucked oysters, the protein-laden meal
progressed to the richer side with creamy quenelles and
tripe accompanied by the compulsory pomme puree and
grain mustard. The company and food made for a perfect if
bittersweet finale to our stay in France.
Barcelona Without Boundaries
Barcelona’s cuisine contains some stark contrasts to the
classic French. While still rooted in fresh, seasonal ingredients, it’s playful and inventive, with fewer rules and
boundaries. Our base was Hotel Cram circa 1892, in the middle of the Eixample District, close to the Paseo de Gracia,
Rambla de Cataluña, Plaza de Cataluña and the Ramblas. A
rooftop pool and bar, with wooden furniture and daybeds, is
the center of activity day and evening and overlooks the city.
Our first meal at Ten’s Tapas Restaurant was a brilliant
initiation. Entering through the Park hotel, I immedi-
ately noticed the long white bar surrounding the kitchen.
Each dish was accentuated with modern and unpredicted
innovation: Bloody mary ice cream with sea snails, fried
smelt, foie gras with lemongrass, and plays on textures and
This page, left to right:
The first official “stage“
at Cour des Loges
(first two photos); the
market Les Halles de
Lyon Paul Bocuse.