My August column for French Property News
The first meal I ever had in Paris was a jambon-beurre. Sitting on a bench at Champ-de-Mars while basking in the glory of the Eiffel Tour, it was that humble sandwich that impressed me most. Never had I eaten such a perfect yet simple creation: a freshly baked baguette de tradition, crispy on the outside and chewy on the inside, slathered with unsalted butter and generously layered with paper-thin slices of rosy pink ham. Little did I know I was sinking my teeth into a piece of French gastronomic heritage – one that years later would be upstaged by the hamburger.
The jambon-beurre used to be France’s most beloved sandwich. Its history goes back to the 19th century when it was a nutritious and portable meal for the working class and merely consisted of two thick slices of bread covered with a layer of lard or bacon. After the 1920s, however, the sandwich was given a makeover and became a sophisticated treat. No more stale bread with rancid lard, but elegant baguettes, churned butter from Normandy and freshly sliced jambon de Paris (hence its nickname. ‘le Parisien’).
Read the full column, published in the August 2021 issue of French Property News here: Jambon-beurre