Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Haute Burgers In Paris

Burgers are not new to France.
Yet given the country's pride for its cuisine (see its recent attempt to have la gastronomie française listed as Unesco heritage,) and its reputation for snubbing fast food, bombing McDonald's, or suing the chain for using local chefs in its ads, the NYT's revelation that In Paris, Burgers Turn Chic comes as a culture shock.

"Hamburgers and cheeseburgers have invaded the city," writes Jane Sigal. "French chefs have embraced the quintessentially American food [and] made it their own, incorporating Gallic flourishes like cornichons, fleur de sel and fresh thyme. These attempts to translate the burger, or maybe even improve it, strongly suggest that it is here to stay [...] The burger has become gastronomic."

Why such a sudden passion by snotty chefs and locals alike? "[The burger] has the taste of the forbidden, the illicit, the subversive even," says a local food consultant. "Eating with your hands, it’s pure regression. Naturally, everyone wants it." Le fruit défendu: of course.
[edit 07/20/08: America's Most Expensive Hamburgers in Forbes Travel]
photo Ed Alcock/NYT