Pull up a chair in lyon

Pull up a chair in lyon

Come to table in Lyon, the culinary capital of France. If you’re a self-professed gourmand, you’ll be in heaven here, in southeastern France, an agricultural hub that provides the freshest ingredients for farm-to-table fare like you’ve never tasted before. Chicken from Bresse, Charolais beef, creamy butter, fresh vegetables, wine, olive oil, pork from Monts des Lyonnais, trout, and snails from the Dombes region … hungry yet? Let’s take a look at what specialties you should absolutely not miss when you’re in Lyon.

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Experience France’s culinary excellence

lyon streets with restaurants

What to Eat in Lyon 

Poulet de Bresse

This firm, flavorful chicken is a staple in Lyonnaise brasseries, where it is typically served in a rich and creamy mushroom sauce. 

Quenelle de Brochet

This pike dumpling with Nantua sauce is sourced from the crayfish near Nantua Lake. 

Escargots à la Bourguignonne

Snails with parsley and garlic butter sauce are a must for slightly more adventurous diners. 

Tablier de Sapeur 

Pop into one of Lyon’s many cozy bistros (called bouchons) for this beef tripe dish, cooked in a court-bouillon with white wine, then smothered in breadcrumbs and fried. You can expect steamed potatoes on the side and a gribiche sauce made from emulsified hard-boiled eggs, mustard, and chives.

Charcuterie

You’ve come to the right place if you love a good charcuterie spread. Look, in particular, for a local cold cut called Jésus, which is dried for a minimum of eight weeks, as well as the Rosette de Lyon. These delightful meats are complemented by creamy Saint-Marcellin and Saint-Felicien cheeses, brandy-soaked Epoisse, semi-hard blue Fourme d’Ambert (one of the oldest cheeses in France), or countless other options.  

Sweets

Satisfy your sweet tooth on a Coussin de Lyon, a cushiony, green marzipan bite bursting with chocolate ganache. Or, try a brioche aux pralines roses, recognizable by its bright-pink sugar crumbs. Then, again, you might want to sample Lyon’s version of the doughnut – the bugne. Or, try them all! They’re sold at most shops and bakeries in the city. 

lyon france culinary destination

Where to Find the Best Food in Lyon 

 

Lyon gastronomy

Although there are more than 4,000 restaurants throughout the city, we love a good outdoor food market. These (typically) morning markets feature the best fresh, local, and seasonal produce. There are always delightful treats available to start your day off right or for picnic provisions later on. Here are some of our favorites:

Marché Saint-Antoine

Find this popular market on the banks of the Saône at Place des Célestins. Browse the stalls of more than 100 producers, gardners and craftspeople for a true taste of Lyon. The most celebrated chefs in the city shop here, so you know you’re in fine company. From fishmongers to florists, bakers to butchers, they’re all here. 

3-Hour Food Tour with a Local Guide:  Reserve your spot here

Marché de la Croix-Rousse

Sitting high on the slopes of the Croix-Rousse neighborhood, this local, lively favorite offers all the staples, from cheese and wine to charcuterie and pastries. Pro tip: Head to the market near closing time (1 PM), and you might walk away with free produce that the traders would otherwise throw away. 

Halles de Lyon Paul Bocuse

Known locally as “Les Halles,” this covered market is located near the Part-Dieu train station. While it runs pricier than most street markets, it has more upscale vendors and stays open later. Even if you’re just window shopping, any self-respected gourmand should make the pilgrimage here. Your eyes will grow wide at the cheeses of Fromagerie Mons, your tastebuds will pop as you slurp oysters of Chez Antonin and you’ll feel ever so French as you decide which incarnation of black and white truffles you’d like to experience at Passionnément Truffes – Maison Blanchet.

Move over Paris. For the gastronomically inclined among you, we suggest a culinary tour of Lyon. Ready to sample a local Cervelles de Canut cheese in a neighborhood brasserie, or sit down at a Michelin-starred haute cuisine eatery for the best meal of your life? Let’s chat

 

7 Top Restaurants in Positano

7 Top Restaurants in Positano

Positano’s charms aren’t simply superficial, though it’s as postcard-perfect as you imagined. Dive into the flavors of the Amalfi Coast at any of these top seven restaurants in Positano, and you’ll feel the region’s soul.  Don’t stop at one indulgent meal.  There are too many idyllic coastal gems to hem yourself into.  From sought-after seats at Michelin-starred restaurants to cozy cafe-style eateries, these are our favorite places to taste the fruits of Positano, both from the sea and the land.

Guests at Chez Black have been dining at this beachside restaurant since 1949, including locals and celebrities from Italy. They dished out lavish plates of Spaghetti con Ricci di Mare (orange sea urchins), bowls of olive-oil-drizzled Zuppa di Pesce locale (locally sourced fish soup with redfish, octopus, mussels, and clams), and their signature heart-shaped pizzas.  Not sure what you want?  The staff will gladly order for you.

Next door to Chez Black, the indoor/outdoor seafront bistro La Cambusa offers excellent seafood.   Pulled directly from the waters you’re facing so you know it’s fresh.  Wash down pasta with squid ink or seafood stew with a cold white wine.  And don’t forget to order the lemon-flavored tiramisu.  We love the bohemian air of the place with its brightly painted chairs, ceramics, and glassware.

seafood-spaghetti

Ristorante Valle dei Mulini’s menus feature Italian, Mediterranean, vegetarian, and vegan options. They serve all the region’s specialties at prices that won’t blow your dining budget. Attentive and cordial staff present delightful meals such as antipasto with prosciutto, mozzarella, and melon, or Polipo con Fagiolini (octopus with green beans) on vibrantly colored ceramic plates made here in town.

Located in the Hotel Villa Franca, Michelin-rated Li Galli is a gorgeous choice for a celebratory meal. Although, let’s face it. You’re in Postino, so every moment is a celebration! Savor the fruits of the sea as you take in the sky-to-sea Positano view. The menu features local Campanian culinary traditions, using the best regional fruits, vegetables, seafood, and meats.

top restaurants in Positano

Il Grottino Azzurro, recognizable by its white and light-blue sign, is romantic and cozy. The hard part is deciding between the menu’s Neapolitan and Southern Italian choices. There are many delicious Italian dishes, from Gnocchi all Sorrento to Caprese salad to Tagliata di Carne. Wooden cutting boards hanging on a stone wall reveal handwritten signs with the daily specials.

Trust me; you can’t go wrong at the homey and rustic La Tagliata.  Located east of Positano’s main beach, this hillside restaurant offers delicious food with mesmerizing views.  Seafood graces the menu, but you can also get a nice steak cooked over the coals here.  The first ravioli course with provola cheese, arugula, and mozzarella may be our favorite.  To avoid walking up the hill to the terraced restaurant, the restaurant offers a shuttle service.

gnocchi with butter and sage

7.  Rada

Clinging to the cliffside, Rada is the epitome of Positano dining. Grab a table by the beach and order the Crudo Misto, which means “mixed raw.” This incredible concoction of raw oysters, clams, shrimp, and whatever’s fresh is well complemented by a cold white wine.

Ready to dine your way through Positano? Learn more by scheduling a discovery call.  

Best tapas bars in madrid

Best tapas bars in madrid

If you’re a grazer, you’ll fall in love with Madrid’s tapas style of dining.  This is where friends and family, high society, and blue-collar workers come together to drink and dine over tried-and-true favorites like salt cod fritters and distinctive local specialties – fried pork ear, anyone?  No need to pick just one tapas bar. Sip and snack at as many as you can find, even late into the night.  Here are the tapas bars in Madrid that we have our eye on.

pincho-tapa

Casa Toni

For an authentic Madrid tapas experience, head to Casa Toni in the Puerta del Sol area. It’s unpretentious, old-school-style makes it a local favorite – and when the locals love it, you can be fairly certain you will, too! Don’t miss the offal – a concoction of intestines, ear, sweetbreads, loads of garlic, and parsley. You won’t regret it.  The more faint of heart might veer toward the standards on the menu, including chorizo, sauteed mushrooms, patatas bravas and more.

La Casa del Abuelo

When La Casa del Abuelo refers to itself as family-run, they’re not kidding around.  The tapas bar has been family-owned and operated since 1906.  And, it’s the birthplace of the gambas al ajillo (garlic shrimp tapa).

There’s a story to this tapa’s rise to popularity. After the Spanish Civil War, Madrid faced a bread shortage.  At that time, La Casa was a sandwich bar and without bread, well, you get the picture. The owner found that shrimp was plentiful at the market and, out of necessity, gambas al ajillo was born.

Everything is done in-house here, including shelling the shrimp and making their own olive oil and wine. And, today, there’s more than enough bread to go around so be sure to order some to soak up the extra garlic sauce on your plate.

Taberna Real

Just around the corner from the Royal Palace, Taberna Real is a lovely spot for an aperitif, local Campo Real olives and empanada.  The palace servants used to live here, later transforming it into a bar.  In keeping with the palatial theme, the bar boasts a glittery chandelier that is a replica of the one found in the neighboring palace.

La Campana

Like Casa Toni, La Campana provides a very real Madrid experience.  This is the place to try the typical bocadillo de calamares (fried calamari sandwich) for which the city is known. Make like a true Spaniard and take it to go. Homemade bread envelopes perfectly fried crispy calamari, cementing the fact that simple is best when it comes to tapas.

Bodega de la Ardosa

Another oldie, but goodie, Bodega de la Ardosa is somewhere around its 130-year-old birthday. From the antiques lining the shelves and the engraved beer taps, every inch of the place exudes character.  The artichokes are a seasonal hit, sizzled and grilled in Spanish olive oil until you can almost spread the tasty goodness on bread.  The fresh sea anemones (ortiguillas), sherry-braised beef cheeks and tortilla española are, quite literally, award-winning.

Casa Revuelta

Impress your travel companions by suggesting this delightful bar, two minutes from the Plaza Mayor. Order a glass of vermú or a half-pint to wash down the battered bacalao (salt cod) fritters, one of the many must-try delicacies before leaving Madrid.  Revuelta is also known for its slow-stewed tripe, available only on Wednesdays and Thursdays.

Hungry?  We don’t blame you.  Let’s chat about your trip to Spain and which Madrid tapas bars you should have in your sights.

Tuscany For Foodies

Tuscany For Foodies

Italy is a postcard-perfect Europe. A land of romantic vineyards, medieval streets, and canals filled with gondolas. Yet Italy also means food. And lots of it. While their cuisine is famous worldwide, you can find the freshest and most authentic food in Tuscany. It’s pretty much a foodie’s paradise there. Here are my top must-try experiences for foodies in Tuscany:

sample wine in tuscany

Whether you’re in the Renaissance jewel of Firenze (Florence) or the Chianti countryside, you can enjoy an authentic taste of the real Italy.  Some of Tuscany food specialties include:

  • Pecorino cheese
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Wild truffles 
  • Red, White & dessert wines

HUNTING FOR TRUFFLES

tuscany experience for foodies hunting truffles

Aided by a specially-trained dog and guide, you’ll hunt for wild truffles in the lush woods of Tuscany! Along the way, you’ll pass vineyard-draped hills and fruiting olive trees. After sniffing out truffles in Tuscany’s scenic countryside, you’ll enjoy a home-cooked meal at the guide’s family farm – feasting on pasta crowned in the very truffles you just hunted! During this memorable day in the heart of Tuscany, you’ll feel like part of the family.

WINE TASTING WITH A VINEYARD OWNER

tuscany experience sampling wine from a local vineyard

During your scenic drive through Tuscany, your English-speaking driver will unlock for you wineries that are usually closed to the public. In the secret stone cellars of the Chianti wine region, you’ll taste Chianti Classico (red) and Vernaccia (white) during your private tour. Tuscany foodies get the chance to meet the vineyard owners. What’s more, your driver for the day is a trained sommelier – able to bring to life the millennia of traditions behind wine-making in Tuscany.

LUNCH AT AN OLIVE FARM

olive farm in Tuscany

Tuscany’s hillside produces Italy’s most prized extra virgin olive. The best way to enjoy a tasting of Tuscan olive oil is to visit a family-run frantoio (olive mill) in the farm country. In the company of an Italian culinary guide, you’ll go behind the scenes at a scenic olive orchard. First, you’ll get the chance to wander the silvery-green olive grows – passing under centuries-old trees. 

Next, you’ll observe how fresh olives are pressed into liquid gold—extra virgin oil. (In the fall, you can even pick the olives!). Your visit will end with a guided tasting of Tuscany’s top olive oil – paired with local bread, cheeses, and salami. 

Which Tuscany food experience do you crave?   I can help you discover Italy’s hidden corners that guidebooks don’t even mention.   Contact me to talk about your next big trip.

Top 5 Reasons to Travel to Corfu

Top 5 Reasons to Travel to Corfu

Greece is one of the top summer vacation destinations around the globe. More than 200 inhabited islands make choosing the right place difficult. The Greek island of Corfu is one of the most popular islands and one worth considering.  Here are the top five reasons you should travel to Corfu when planning your next holiday.

This post may contain affiliate links, which means I may receive a commission, at no extra cost to you, if you make a purchase through a link.

1.  A Marvelous Old Town

travelling to Corfu visit the old town

Learn as you linger in Old Town (Campiello), particularly along The Liston, a pedestrian-friendly street modeled on the Rue de Rivoli in Paris and dating back to the early 19th century. Walk from here to the lively Spianada, the largest public square in Greece. Turn around and face the Venetian fortress, set on a peninsula, then stroll along the narrow alleyways of medieval Campiello.

While you’re in Old Town, visit the Esplanade for a cricket game and see the Asian Art Museum, housed in the Palace of St. Michael and St. George. Look, too, for the red dome of the Church of Saint Spyridon, whose miracles are said to have saved the island from devastation many times throughout the centuries.

2.  The Beaches

travel to Corfu for the stunning beaches

Have you ever visited a mythological beach? Lounge in the sun or stroll along the sand at Paleokastritsa, a gorgeously pristine coastal paradise with soft, pinkish-beige sand and blue-green water. This is said to be the place where Odysseus met the princess Nausicaa after Poseidon, the sea god, turned his ship to stone. Gaze out into the harbor to see the ship-shaped rock that inspired the story.

Along more than 130 miles of captivating coastline, there’s a beach for every taste. Catch the sunset at the aptly named Logas, which, while small, is very impressive. If you like water sports, go to the quiet but larger beach of Kontokali, with comfortable beach chairs and umbrellas. Head to Kassiopi for the beach, then stay for the coastal drives and olive groves.

For an adventure, hike down to the incredible Porto Timoni, well worth the effort. Other favorites include the family-friendly Acharavi, a wide, golden-sand beach in the north of the island, and the Marathias beach, known for its clear water, on the southwest coast.

3.  Tempting Cuisine 

tempting Greek food of octopus

Of course, you will find all the traditional Greek foods in Corfu, including Greek yogurt, honey, and olive oil. Corfu, however, has the added benefit of an interesting history that has informed its culinary traditions.

It was occupied by the Venetians, whereas the Greek mainland was occupied by the Ottoman Empire. You’ll find Venetian, British and French influences in the food, as well as a strong reliance on local seafood.

Try bourdeto, served with scorpion fish cooked in a spicy tomato sauce and with potatoes. Or, sink into pastitsada, meat braised in red wine, garlic and onion, steeped with fresh tomato and aromatic spices, then served over pasta. 

You might also like to read: 4 things to do in Split & Zagreb

4.  From Beach to Mountains

gorgeous mountain views when travelling to Corfu

Get a history lesson and a look at the more rugged, mountainous side of Corfu with a visit to the 14th-century Palia Perithia, the oldest settlement on Corfu. The now-ghost-village is built on the slopes of Mount Pantokrator, a strategic position for defense against pirate attacks. Very few people remain in residence. If you like Palia Perithia, continue on to Lakones on Mount Arakli, a bit more bustling with tavernas and cafes overlooking the Ionian Sea.

5.  Easy Access

island hopping made easy for Corfu

Island hopping can be tough to plan, but the beauty of including Corfu in your itinerary is that the island’s large airport saves you time and sanity. You can hop here from just about anywhere, flying directly to the island. Corfu International (Ionnais Kapodistrias) receives year-round flights from Athens, Prevez, Thessaloniki and some European countries. Plus, the airport is conveniently located about 1.8 miles from Corfu Town.

Traveling to Corfu?  Check out this tour:  Paxos and Antipaxos full-day island hopping

If you do choose to come by water, there are many ferry options servicing several ports. Ferries typically depart from Igoumenitsa daily; the trip over is about 90 minutes. Corfu is also reachable by ferry from Venice, Bari, and Ancona, Italy. A summer-season hydrofoil carries passengers only between Corfu and Paxi Island.

Ready to travel to Corfu? Let’s schedule a quick chat.

7 Authentic Portuguese Dishes You Have To Try

7 Authentic Portuguese Dishes You Have To Try

Portugal’s cuisine is legendary, as are its hundreds of dishes. The best way to understand the importance of food to the Portuguese is to try these authentic dishes. We know you can’t try them all, but here are 7 authentic Portuguese dishes you can’t come home without trying.

Portuguese Starter

Caldo Verde (Green Soup)

caldo verde soup-Lareira Restaurante

Photo credit:  Lareira Restaurante [authentic Portuguese Caldo Verde soup]

Try Caldo Verde, a beloved Portuguese dish from northern Portugal, if you’re looking for some comfort food. A delicious soup made with onions, mashed potatoes, garlic, shredded kale, and chouriço or chorizo sausage. Caldo Verde is a Portuguese dish that locals often eat. And it’s the perfect complement to an evening of rhythmic ‘Fado,’ Portugal’s national sound.

Portuguese Main Courses

Polvo à Lagareiro

octopus-used in Portuguese dishes

For adventurous seafood lovers, fresh octopus is a common ingredient you’ll find in most restaurants across the country, especially in coastal regions like the Algarve. Polvo a lagareiro is a popular but simple dish served on a bed of oven-roasted potatoes with herbed garlic oil

Piri-Piri Chicken

Restaurante-Piri-Piri-chicken

Photo credit:  Restaurante Piri Piri [chicken with fries]

 

If you’ve ever been to Southern Africa, you’ve likely had Piri-Piri chicken. While Piri-Piri is popular across Portugal, this spicy dish originated in South Africa when Christian Portuguese sailors brought bird’s eye chilies, the main ingredient, to South Africans. If you’re not a fan of too much heat, you can ask for your Piri-Piri to be mild, medium, or extra fiery.

Bacalhau

most restaurants service Bacalhau, a traditional codfish dish

[beach restaurant in Praia de Mira]

If Portugal is known for any dish, it’s Bacalhau, the Portuguese term for cod. It’s believed there are over 1000 different ways to cook bacalhau, and each town, village, and region has its spin on this iconic dish. One favorite variation is Bacalhau à Brás; shredded cod blended with eggs and bits of potato into a fishcake. Just a heads up when you’re ordering it from a restaurant, bacalhau is dried and salted cod, and ‘bacalhau fresco’ is fresh cod. 

Alheira

Another one of the ‘7 authentic Portuguese dishes’, Alheira sausage, is known as much for its history as it is for its flavor. During the Inquisition period in the mid-1500s, Jewish people were threatened with execution if they didn’t convert to Christianity. So rather than convert, many Jews practiced in secret and fooled the locals into thinking they had converted by making ‘pork-like’ sausages from chicken and other meats that weren’t pork. Today, alheira can be made with pork, duck, veal, and other meats.

Porco Preto

restaurante porco preto

There are plenty of dishes throughout Portugal that are vegetarian-friendly. Porco Preto is not one of them! Pork in this dish is a special breed of pig originally from Spain and Portugal. The most popular place to try this dish is Alentejo, a region known as the ‘Tuscany of Portugal.’ Known for its sun-drenched beaches, aid back life, and flavorful grilled cuisine. Trigger warning for all vegetarians and vegans.

Portuguese Dessert

Pastel de Nata

famous pasteis de nata

Hands down, Portugal’s most well-known and popular dish is Pastel de Nata. And it just so happens to be one of the most delicious desserts you’ll ever eat. It’s undoubtedly one of mine. This creamy custard tart, dusted with cinnamon sugar, might become your favorite way to finish off any meal. Pro tip: Try Pastéis de Belém, the original.

Other Portuguese dishes to try

Portuguese dish-eel stew
pair-portuguese dessert

Located in Costa Nova is Marisqueira restaurant.  Here, we stopped in to try some Portuguese authentic dishes for lunch.  My husband chose the eel stew (Caldeirada de Enguias 20€) for his main course and a pear soaked in wine ( Pera bebeda 3€) for dessert.

grouper with potatoes
mango mousse

Of course, my main dish choice was Grouper (Garoupa 17.50€) and for dessert was Mango mousse (mousse de manga 3.70€).  Drinks consisted of a bottle of water (2€) a bottle of vinho verde 9.5€) and a double espresso.  Our total meal inclining drinks, apps, main course, desserts, and coffee came to 60€ for the two of us.

This list doesn’t even scratch the surface when it comes to Portugal’s culinary landscape, but you have to start somewhere. Ready to try some of these dishes?  Let’s get you there!