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Restaurateurs in Lyon, France had a great idea

Restaurateurs in Lyon, France had a great idea
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  • Restaurateurs in Lyon, France had a great idea

    Post #1 - November 5th, 2020, 10:49 am
    Post #1 - November 5th, 2020, 10:49 am Post #1 - November 5th, 2020, 10:49 am
    In Lyon, the French capital of gastronomy, some restaurateurs owners of “bouchons” had a great idea: relaunching the “mâchon”, a lost tradition of eating and drinking in the early morning.

    As it is the case in the U.S, the French restaurant industry has been negatively affected by the recent new wave of Covid, and the government restrictions: first curfews from 9:00 PM to 6:00 AM, and then other new regulations, imposed in early October. And at the end of October president Macron announced that all bars and restaurants would have to close .
    French people are used to having dinner in restaurants later in the evening than in the U.S. Especially in the big cities. So, during the curfew, the interdiction of serving after 9:00 PM had been poorly accepted by the population. And it had catastrophic consequences for restaurant owners, including many definitive closings.
    In Lyon, during the curfew, the restaurateurs participating in this "mâchon" experience hoped that it would help them to compensate for the loss of dinner customers.
    That was a very interesting idea, which unfortunately could not be continued in November because of the total closing of restaurants.
    The mâchon dates back to the 18th and 19th century when Lyon was the capital of the French silk weaving industry. Silk weavers, the workers called “Les Canuts" lived and worked in the picturesque hilly district of La Croix-Rousse, where most weaving workshops were located. They were hungry and needed a relaxing diversion when they ended their long night shifts around sunrise or early morning. So they would walk down from the hill to downtown, a district which is nowadays called the 1st and 2nd arrondissements, to eat soup and local “charcuterie”and drink wine in one of the numerous popular taverns. This early morning meal was called a “mâchon” a word derived from the French verb “mâcher” which means “ to chew”.

    In the early 2019, Lyon was the city of France which had the biggest number of restaurants: 1500.
    But only 50 to 60 call themselves bouchons. The name "bouchon" has no connection with the French word for "cork". It has its origin in "bousche"an old lyonnais dialect word to describe a bunch of small branches that the owners of taverns used to hang above their door to indicate that they served food and wine.
    Of these only 24 or 25 can be called authentic bouchons lyonnais. They are accredited and given an official certificate and label by the trade  association Les Bouchons Lyonnais, 
    The few restaurateurs, about 15 of them as of the end of October, who decided to resurrect this old tradition of “mâchons”, and to open their bouchons at 8:00 or 9:00 in the morning until 11:30, essentially from Friday to Sunday for the time being, would not offer a whole  menu. They were targeting customers desirous to have a serious “breakfast” or early lunch. They mainly wanted to attract adult customers eager to share some comforting and joyous moments with other people and friends, drink some “pots” of some good Beaujolais, and eat a few traditional comforting traditional Lyonnais dishes. I am talking about andouillettes, saucisson chaud aux pistaches, and various “cochonailles” (pork pâtés and sausages), as well as régional cheeses  such as “Saint Marcellin”.
    The whole story can be read on my blog French Virtual Cafe.