January 26th, 2013: 6 a.m Saturday morning arrived like a foodie's dream of Disneyland: the prospect of a food show ahead and right out our window, on the banks of the Saône river, a farmers market highlighting the glories of France: leeks, cabbage, tender mâche, cheeses, blue-footed chickens. Ooh, It was hard to pull away!
It was tough to get to the show. Many of the convention facilities in France are way out of town, and Lyon is no exception. There were only two ways in: car or metro to shuttle… Suffice it to say we were with the masses, thousands of them on the shuttle. The SIRHA includes six pavilions, with a specific one devoted to regional products. There, we were able to spend some quality time with Gildas Peron, producer of our Mam Goudig Caramels, seeing what is new and recapping last year. He’s got some pretty fun things in the works, some of which should be ready for the Fancy Food Show in July.
We also saw a fantastic cookie company (this is just like dating, though, so we’ll see what happens—but I am excited.) Linda Sikorski scored on some wonderful French olive oil (she’s a picky one, that girl!). And we managed to suss out some dried fruit, which may result in a couple of K.L. Keller surprises. There was a French preserve company there that I’ve had my eye on for a couple of years, so we were able to meet in person and taste, taste, taste. And finally, we found the prunes of my dreams: Right company, right taste and attractive package!
Our sprint through the confection world included a cordial visit (and photo) with Francois Doucet; we met him personally and took an up-close and personal look at his new items, discussed the importer’s perennial problem “what dye color is this?” and had a short discussion about a couple of new and dynamic products.
This fantastic day in Lyon was concluded by a classic dinner at Brasserie George, where we had the great fortune to meet up with our pals Christine and John Cawley. John thought we should not miss this institution that seemed the size of Penn Station! He was right. You wouldn’t believe the dimensions of this palace! The “cover,” as they say in the biz, is 500 (seats per seating!) The food was all the classics of Lyon, and there was a fun hullabaloo every time a baked Alaska with sparklers, carried in one hand over the head of a server, went through the dinning room (train station) with the jazz band playing happy birthday. Check out the photos to get an idea of the size and food (photos compliments of David Porat @ CMB).