Lyon, France is a city that has a rich culinary tradition. It is home to Paul Bocuse and the foodie paradise that is Les Halles de Lyon, where 50 merchants sell a decadent array of gastronomic wonders. Before Bocuse …and even centuries before Lyon opened its first covered market (Place des Cordeliers back in 1859), a tradition began that eventually led to the creation of puffs of colorful pillowy sweets called le coussin de Lyon.
Le coussin de Lyon is candy made out of rich coca, a lightly flavored Curaçao liqueur and blanched almonds. Like a supermodel strutting on a sidewalk, you can’t miss them as you wander around Lyon. Le coussin de Lyon comes in rich colors like lavender, teal, lemony yellow and a vibrant rose pink.
There is a rich history and tradition behind these sweets. Back in 1643, Lyon was in the throws of the plague. In an attempt to keep the terrible epidemic at bay, high ranking town officials marched to Fourvière Hill (where the Basilica of Notre-Dame de Fourvière now stands) and made an offering to the Virgin Mary. Their offerings were simple: a seven pound wax candle and a single gold coin placed upon a silk cushion. Every year the tradition has continued, except now the offering is matched with three canon shots announcing that the vow has been honored. It was the annual role of the silk cushion in this tradition that led to the birth of le coussin de Lyon. In French, the word “coussin” translates to “cushion.”
Voisin is a family held company that has been manufacturing high quality chocolates and fine French specialties since 1897. In 1960, the master chocolatiers at Vosin teamed up with the illustrious silk manufacturers in Lyon to create the decadent dessert honoring Lyon’s centuries old tradition. Lyon, and Voisin, are the epicenter for this delicacy, but if you’re lucky you can also find le coussin de Lyon sprinkled throughout storefronts in France’s Rhône-Alpes region.
Voisin *A listing of all 25 Voisin locations in France can be found here.
Address: 11 Place Bellecour
69002 Lyon, France
Hours: Monday 2:00pm to 7:00pm, Tuesday Through Saturday 9:00am to 7:00pm, Closed Sunday
Phone: +33 4 78 37 79 41
Prices (All in Euros): Boxed Chocolates and Sweets 13,90€ to 39,50€ *Goodies are sold individually for immediate consumption as well.