The days of French foodies scoffing at Americans for their lack of culinary taste are over. One of France’s staple sandwiches, the ham and butter baguette (jambon-beurre), was overthrown in national sales by the all-American hamburger for the first time last year. According to a recent study by the restaurant consultants Gira Conseil, the French devoured 1.4 billion greasy burgers in 2017—about 200 million more than the jambon-beurre.
The overall desire for sandwiches is growing in France, as the consumption of the jambon-beurre actually rose 1.3%. But the burger is what truly caught the attention of the French palate last year, with a 9% overall rise in sales. “Even the Americans are looking at us with wide-eyed amazement,” Bernard Boutboul, general director of Gira Conseil, told The Associated Press. Boutboul said the burger craze originated with world renowned French chef Yannick Alleno. The three-star Michelin mastermind won the New York Times‘ award for best burger in the world about a decade ago, and the French have been obsessed ever since.
“Obviously the rise in popularity is not linked to sales at McDonald’s or other fast-food restaurants,” Boutboul said. “It’s due to the growing number of restaurants putting burgers on their menu.” Boutboul is adamant that fast food plays only a small role in France’s burger consumption, with eighty percent of restaurants in France having had some kind of burger on the menu in 2017. But according to Forbes, France loves their McDonald’s too, as the country has become the fast-food giant’s second most profitable market.
This may be the end to France’s sandwich superiority, but it’s just the beginning of a new relationship with the beautiful world of burgers. It’s okay, France, we can’t resist either.