All the way to Lyon I had seen the signs by the side of the road: “Snail Farm”, I had seen the restaurants where one could eat frog and snails. So when I finally had a night out I wanted to go try them.
Kindly enough, my Couchsurfing host and her boyfriend offered to go with me and take me to what was known as the best restaurant for grenouille in all of Lyon.
We got to Le Layon just in time to secure us the last table. It took us a while to study the menu but we finally settled on sharing a few dishes. My table mates both ordered typical Lyonnaise menus with otherwise things they liked, one of the starters they ordered just for me was a plate of escargots, while I ordered a plate of grenouille, which was the same price as each of the menus.
The snails (escargots) arrived first. And never before have I been so underwhelmed by what was described to me as a delicatessen. The poor gastropods had been simply drowned in lots of butter with garlic and parsley. I liked the consistency, so they could have been lovely with a little more creative seasoning.
The other starter, a sort of egg salad with champignons, had to make up for that.
Then the frogs arrived. They looked like they had been fried pretty much whole (gutted, of course).
I dug right in.
This time the underwhelming feeling was familiar: it was not unlike what I had felt just minutes before while sampling the snail starter — anything resembling the taste of frog was drowned in a sea of butter, garlic, and parsley.
On my journey through France, it wasn’t until I reached the sea and the oysters of Oléron that I finally found a traditional French dish I truly fell in love with. But that’s a different story…