While you may have heard of the traditional Lyon restaurants called bouchons, it’s unlikely that you’ve heard of the mâchon. And unrightly so, given that this Lyon tradition has been around for centuries. MiHotel reveals all.
The mâchon, a jewel in Lyon’s gastronomic crown
Originally, the mâchon (which comes from the French verb ‘to chew’) referred to the hot meal that silk weavers shared in the morning, following a long night’s work. Often composed of tripe, local deli meats, cheese and wine, the meal was intended to be simple and sociable. Its main purpose was to give those working in the silk factories the opportunity to come together and regain their strength with some hearty food.
Over time, the tradition has been somewhat lost, however some establishments are attempting to return the mâchon to its former glory. There is even a society, the Francs Mâchons, that has defended and promoted the tradition since 1964!
Where to enjoy a Lyon mâchon
Some of the typical dishes of this morning meal are andouillette sausage (especially Beaujolais), tablier de sapeur (beef tripe), grattons (pork scratchings) and cervelle de canuts (a cheese dip). The quintessential Lyon bouchons is thus where you’ll be able to taste a proper mâchon as tradition intended it.
On a walk through the Paul Bocuse food market, a legendary institution of local cuisine, don’t miss out on Resto Halles (on cours Lafayette). In the Presqu’île, a trip to the Petit Bouchon Chez Georges (rue du Garet) or Chez Hugon (rue Pizay) will allow you to relish the flavours of this traditional meal. Slightly closer to the MiHotel Suites, in the 2nd arrondissement, a few excellent restaurants also carry on the Lyon custom, such as le bouchon de la Bourse (rue de la Bourse) or le Musée (rue des Forces).
A food connoisseur, a small-time epicurean or just a curious individual: you now know everything you need to mâchon to your heart’s content!