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  • Writer's pictureXabi

Day 5: Culinary Explorations in Avignon and a Michelin-Star Finale in Lyon

During the following days, we stopped in various cities such as Avignon, a charming small town in the heart of Southeast France, famous for its Palais des Papes, the former residence of the popes. The highlight of this section was certainly an Italian restaurant we found in Avignon (thanks to the Michelin recommendation list, of course) where we had the opportunity to eat a unique carpaccio seasoned with candied fruit and coffee powder!

But our final destination was a bit more north, closer to the Alps: Lyon. You might have heard of Lyon as the gourmet capital of France, and that's saying something. We must say that Lyon didn't steal its reputation as we got to eat some of the best traditional French food we ever had. But for our final restaurant experience, we chose to eat at our first Michelin TWO star restaurant ever, a restaurant named Takao Takano.

Now, one, two, three stars... You would think that you and I would probably not be so able to tell the difference. Nothing could be further from the truth. As we entered the room, we instantly felt the difference. The decoration was simply beautiful, and there were no more than 7 tables in the room, thus creating a very exclusive ambiance, which personally made me feel a bit uncomfortable, but really suited Stephen who felt right at home.

We were served a Shitake mushroom eggflan with vegetables and a beef consommé (a sort of cleared beef broth). The taste was subtle; overall, a bit salty, but really quite enjoyable.

But the real starter quickly followed. It was made of rabbit meat, which I found a bit soggy at first, but it improved afterwards.

The next dish was also not the easiest piece of meat, although a must-try of European food. It was made of suckling pig, along with a rarely seen parsnip with chanterelle (a European mushroom). While the meat was a bit overcooked and dry for our taste, the parsnip was absolutely divine: very garlicky, with a floral taste, creating a strange but delicious combination.

Stephen indulged in a cheese selection, being offered a variety of soft to hard European cheeses.

Finally, we enjoyed a unique dessert made of cooked clementine and chestnut. The dessert was one of the most interesting parts as it combined the very tart and sour taste of cooked clementine (be warned if you try to make a jam with them...) with the sweetness of the chestnut mix, for a very original and tasteful combination.

As a result, we were both pleased and disappointed by the restaurant, as it offered somewhat awkwardly cooked pieces of meat which didn't surpass my home-cooked, farm-grown versions, but it also offered a range of the most delicious and aromatic sides we had during that week.

We decided to rate the place a solid 8/10. And that's where our trip ended!



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