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Why Lyon is food capital of the world

Bill Buford on the culinary genius, people and secrets of the city he now calls home

In a dining establishment in Lyon, you can eat pig fat fried in pig fat, a pig’s brain dressed in a porky vinaigrette, a salad made with creamy pig lard, a chicken cooked inside a sealed pig’s bladder, a pig’s digestive tract filled up with pig’s blood and cooked like a custard, nuggets of a pig’s belly mixed with cold vinegary lentils, a piggy intestine blown up like a balloon and stuffed thickly with a handful of piggy intestines, and a sausage roasted in a brioche (an elevated version of a “pig in a blanket”). For these and other reasons, Lyon, for 76 years, has been recognised as the gastronomic capital of France and the world. The world is a big place. Two and a half years ago, I persuaded my wife Jessica Green and our three-year-old twins that we should move to Lyon to see what was so good about the good food there.

Should I have proposed a two-week holiday? We had been happy in New York, in an apartment by a park. We had neighbours. We had friends. But, for reasons I didn’t understand, I felt I needed to learn how to cook the food of France and knew that I was going to have to get over to the country: to Paris, I’d always assumed. But where in Paris, and doing what? I interrogated chefs, including Daniel Boulud, whom I tracked down on a family vacation, and the great Michel Richard, whom I met on a train from Washington DC.

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Top 10 neighbourhood bars in Rio de Janeiro

New bars come and go with startling regularity in Rio de Janeiro. Others, like the 10 here, feel as if they’ve been around forever and give a flavour of the city’s diverse neighbourhoods
Interactive map: where to find Rio’s best bars

With the Olympics kicking off this week, the bar and club owners of Copacabana and other Rio tourist traps will be licking their lips at the prospect of how much money they’ll make from gullible tourists. But it doesn’t have to be that way. There’s nothing Cariocas (Rio folk) enjoy more than hanging out in their favourite bar, and the ones we’ve chosen are all classics and integral parts of the neighbourhoods they reside in. Many are small botecos, local watering holes, ideal spots to cool off, hang out and get a beer for under £2 or a caipirinha for less than three.

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