Lyon is well known as France’s capital of gastronomy, with its traditional bouchons spilling out onto the pavements and its delectable indoor market – Les Halles de Lyon Paul Bocuse –overflowing with oysters and andouillette, pungent local cheeses and praline pink sweets. It was not those, though, but a remarkably impressive honey shop – Secrets d’Apiculteur on a cobbled street in Vieux Lyon – that captured my imagination.
It was my husband, who grew up helping his beekeeping father with his many hives, who spotted it. One look inside and I became captivated for never before had I seen such a range of flavours nor so much information provided about the product, from the name of the beekeeper to its numerous heath properties.
I zoned in on the Sicilian wild carrot honey (€8, first picture), deliciously creamy with a slight taste of dill and a hint of something more floral. It’s also rich in betacarotene, promising to improve skin, hair and nails and digestion. (I almost would have bought it for the name of its beekeeper – Filippo Leonardi – alone, along with the image of wild carrots flowering in sunny meadows in distant Sicily, which brought an almost tangible ray of sunshine to the chilly French morning.)
Purchase made, there was still more to browse, from Corsican Maquis honeydew (€9.60) to French Lime Tree honey (€7.90), and French Bupleurum (€8), a bitter orange and gingerbread flavour. (Tasting boxes (€18.50) with four honeys divided into fruity, woody and floral categories would make perfect presents.) The shelves also groan with honey-related products from cider to mustard to French Royal Jelly (€23 for 10g).
Happily, an efficient website means you can stock up without even having to get on the Eurostar.
For more culinary hotspots, take a look at these two Lyon eateries.