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Elegant Villa & “Cuisinière Lyonnaise”

April 13, 2016 @ 3:50 pm
posted by Sandra Sheridan
Vieux Lyon France

Overlooking Lyon, Villa Florentine

In visiting Lyon for the first time, we were so fortunate to have a connection … through our landlord in Paris, no less!  We phoned him and enjoyed several outings in the city he knew so well.

One evening he told us about a very unique cook book; and so, after dinner in Vieux Lyon, we climbed with him up to Villa Florentine in the Fourvière district. Not only did our friend know the book would be available there, he understood we would be enthralled with the five-star hotel and view over the old city.

Over a mellow drink of brandy by the pool, he told us the appealing story behind “Cuisinière Lyonnaise”.  On a misty morning the Villa’s chef, Stéphane Gaborie, wandered through a flea market.  He discovered an old recipe book, beautifully calligraphed and filled with family ‘recettes’.

The book opens with “Remarques Préliminaires” (preliminary remarks).  One entry, for example, deals entirely with the making of mustard – with water, salt, pepper, garlic, olive oil and vinegar. Monsieur Gaborieau poured his heart into the making of this exquisite cookbook that fellow chef Paul Bocuse described as a “tribute to an unknown Mother”.

Not only do we see page after antique-looking page of the beautiful script and succulent recipes of this unknown woman, we have an exceptional treat at the end – the comments and recipes from 15 of the world’s most renowned chefs.  How touching to read the nostalgic comments about cooking by the side of their own grand mères.

Repeatedly each chef refers to seasonal fresh vegetables and fruits, free-range chickens and field-grazed cows.  Their devotion to the highest quality ingredients offers a testament to their profession.  The comments of a Lyonnais chef, Pierre Orsi, are particularly sweet.  “… these traditional family recipes take on a new and unusual dimension in the pen of a young woman, who, in my mind’s eye, is precise, refined and delicate.  This is an exceptional work.”

[Note: the book is part of the Stéphane Bachès collection of cookbooks – a delightful range of regional and themed books.]

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