Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Les Bugnes Lyonnaises

During the month of February, and especially during the French Carnival period, you'll find that the bugne Lyonnaise is kind of a fetish in this town. Last week I mentioned to someone that I was thinking about this little fried confection and it was all it took to get him on a roll. This man instantly launched into a rhapsody about his grandmother's bugnes, and how they used to make them at home once a year the day before Lent. Bugnes have been sold in shops in Lyon since as early as the 16th century, with local records describing their crisp delectable texture. Indeed the bugne historically associated with Lyon is flat, rectangular and fried crisp, but both the flat and leavened kinds are common now.

As far as size and shape go, you can find just about any kind of bugne animal, depending on where you like to buy them. The shape of a bugne in anyone's mind is determined by the neighborhood where they grew up, family lore, or even a gastronome's current fave. Bugnes come in all shapes and sizes. Do not be ashamed to taste, feel the crunch or soft billowy sweetness, judge harshly, speak freely, and love your favorite with all of your heart.

In Lyon, this is a treat traditionally served only on Mardi Gras, but like many of the festival foods, the season has extended over time. You start to see them around the end of January and the boulangeries and charcuteries normally stop making them sometime in the middle of March. There is one vendor on the Quai St. Antoine that sells them year 'round! This means you can still enjoy them after today, that is if you don't give up fried pastry treats for Lent. Enjoy your feast today if you're celebrating Mardi Gras!

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Blogger Kitt said...

Yum! They look like they might be related to funnel cakes.

6:50 PM, February 24, 2009  
Blogger Chelsea said...

Mmmmm. I'm reminded of beignets and chicory coffee in New Orleans. What a lovely breakfast!

9:52 PM, February 24, 2009  
Blogger TryingHard said...


I look at many blogs and I can tell you that yours is the best. I check everyday to see what you've posted and even reread your old posts when there aren't any new ones, I know these blogs must be a lot of work and I just wanted you to know how much I appreciate yours. For me it is like a little vacation to Lyon.

12:01 AM, February 25, 2009  
Blogger docsconz said...

Though I saw them and saw them with you, I didn't actually try them at the time. I am sorry now. wonderful post, as always, Lucy!

1:29 AM, February 25, 2009  
Blogger Helene said...

Tradition indeed! I made mine today! It's not Mardi Gras without bugnes!!

2:53 AM, February 25, 2009  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I just found your blog and I love it! My grandma was from Lyon and she used to do the kind on the bottom right picture, and I so miss it!
I wish I could be in Lyon today to have some!
a bientot

4:17 AM, February 25, 2009  
Blogger breadchick said...

Oh those look so good and powedery and sweet.

10:43 PM, February 25, 2009  
Blogger L Vanel said...

Thanks for the sweet comments. I am now considering going on a big diet.

10:46 PM, February 25, 2009  
Blogger Here, There, Elsewhere... and more said...

Yummy, yummy, I love those really light crispy ones..!
We only seem to get the fat doughy ones here (and we're only up the road, as it were) - i'll have to have a quick trip to Lyon to pick us up some..!
Beautiful photos..:)

4:47 PM, February 26, 2009  
Blogger Jennifer said...

These look like an Italian pastry that my grandma makes at Christmas time. Yum!

7:44 AM, March 02, 2009  
Blogger Nicole said...

These look very similar to a fried Norwegian cookie we used to make at Christmas time.

1:48 AM, March 17, 2009  
Anonymous foodhoe said...

oh how fun, I was googling this item that I saw on a menu b/c I had no idea what it was and stumbled upon your wonderful site! I'm adding you to my reader, what a delightful site you have... beautiful luscious photos!

7:54 PM, May 26, 2009  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh what a cornucopia of mouth watering deliciousness!

8:34 PM, February 14, 2010  

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