People often ask me what pizza in France is like and honestly it's a jungle out there. As the second largest consumer of pizza in the world, after the USA, France has their own style which usually includes copious amounts of dairy. But you can find any pizza under the sun in Paris (when there IS sun in Paris). In general, the French try to respect the Italian tradition for pizza because France has respect for their own food culture, with rules that are rigorously enforced (e.g. cheese comes after dinner, so does cognac).
France is an interesting market because unlike in America, the chains offer more expensive pizza while the independents are typically snack bars which offer pizza alongside burgers and kebabs at drunk student prices. And while France has been engaging in a centuries long battle with Italy for the best cuisine in the world, French youth are very quickly digging into less prestigious snack foods. France's growing taste for fast food was clear at the Parizza food show, part of the Sandwich & Snack Show in Paris.
|Here I've got a slice from Pizza Rustica, a great place to go to speak Italian and get pizza with buffalo mozzarella in Paris.|
Below you'll find the 7 most awesome discoveries I made in my adventure to the Parizza expo.
1. Black Pearl pizza crust
2. High-quality French wine in a can
I do believe there is a company or two or three in the U.S. which is already making wine in a can. In France, it's a hard sell since people are basically born with a cork in their mouth. As I was speaking with the President of Winestar, Cédric, a French man approached the stand, somewhat appalled at selling wine grown in castles out of a can. So it goes. I tried it, and it was great wine! Convenient for airplanes and having picnics. You can take wine anywhere, hence the slogan "free your wine!"
3. Complicated expresso drinks that a 3-year-old can make
So, this is fancy. An all-in-one, anyone-can-do-it coffee machine that uses real coffee beans and real milk. At the touch of a button it grinds the beans, sucks up the milk and does all the work for you. I asked the lady helping me at the booth who would buy this kind of thing and her response was "a luxury hotel." Oh la la, I want to stay in one and make coffee.
4. Incredible Ventable pizza boxes
These pizza boxes were created in India just a few years ago and have rapidly gained traction in the market for pizza makers who are determined to keep their pizza true to its best form in route. In France people pay higher tickets for delivery than they do dine in or carry out, so the slight increase in price per box doesn't bare much difference. What was especially cool about this booth was that when I asked the guy if he knew pizza box enthusiast Scott Wiener, he immediately gave me a high five. So much fun!
5. Vintage Meat slicers
The consumer likes to be ever more knowledgable about where their food comes from, how it's handled, etc. So as restaurants are becoming more transparent, they're making their equipment more pleasant to look at too. One of the newest trends in Paris harkens back to the days of yore with vintage meat slicers. These old fashioned contraptions will cost you big bucks up front, but they are sure to surprise your customers, entertain them and most importantly, slice their meat.
6. Tiny foods
It isn't new in France but it never fails to blow my mind how making any food in miniature form makes it infinitely more adorable. Is this why French people are so skinny? Their food is too cute to eat. Below we've got some mini burgers and some mini pastries. Note my hands of longing for scale.
7. Visible Sandwich fillings
This is a method for prepping sandwiches by preparing them on a small plank. When a customer chooses a sandwich it's folded into a cut open baguette and the plank slides right out.
This idea is so neat because it solves so many quandaries in one go. It makes the sandwiches visually beautiful, customers know exactly what they are getting AND the sandwiches can be prepared quickly and freshly. Win, win, win.
Lastly, I found that champagne is good for any occasion at French trade shows. In fact, drinking alcohol early in the day is encouraged. This is the second year in a row that I got caught off guard and missed the International visitors cocktail which takes place between 12:30 and 2pm. I don't know how they do it... unless the cocktails are as tiny as everything else they eat.
|Or spray it|