Monday 17 December 2018

Sacré bleu - burger has become France's favourite snack

The French ate nearly 1.5 billion burgers last year
The French ate nearly 1.5 billion burgers last year

David Chazan

Long despised in the country that gave the world cordon bleu cookery, the burger has for the first time overtaken le jambon-beurre, the traditional ham sandwich, as France's favourite snack.

The French are being forced to swallow their culinary pride after the revelation that they munched their way through nearly 1.5 billion hamburgers last year, according to a survey by the food consultancy Gira Conseil.

In a further blow to the Gallic sense of gastronomic superiority, burgers have spread beyond the fast food industry and now figure on the menus of 85pc of the country's restaurants. In many of them, "posh burgers" are now the most popular item, ahead of more traditional dishes such as beef bourguignon or cassoulet.

France is McDonald's second most profitable market, but has not yet become a fast-food nation. Rather, burgers have become part of the national cuisine, with French touches such as foie gras, truffles or Roquefort cheese.

Bernard Boutboul, the managing director of Gira Conseil, said fast-food outlets accounted for only 30pc of burger sales last year, while the remaining 70pc were savoured by more discerning diners in traditional sit-down restaurants.

Mr Boutboul said: "We've been talking about the burger frenzy for three years so it's hard to find new words to describe the steamroller effect. It's hysteria."

By comparison, sales of burgers and ham sandwiches were neck and neck in 2016.

© Daily Telegraph, London

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