Good Food Blog
Bourgeois burgersPosted at 11:57AM, 18 July 2008 by Graham Holliday - Blogger
Take one gourmet speciality and the world's most famous fast food item and what have you got? The foie gras burger. That's the word from the Parisian streets in the International Herald Tribune this week. Restaurants in Paris can't serve enough of them it seems. L'Atelier de Joël Robuchon is just one of the higher end restaurants serving gourmet bugers. 'Le Burger', as they call it, consists of two small patties top with foie gras slabs.
And it's not just foie gras finding its way into traditional fast food in the French capital. The Black Calvados near the Champs-Élysées rustles up a burger from Wagyu beef and 'black ketchup' of blackberries and black currants, Alain Ducasse's restaurant Le Relais du Parc does a 'seasonal burger a la plancha' and CorbiÃÂ¨re has a 'shrimp and squid patty'.
"It's not just a fad," said Frédérick Grasser-Hermé, who, as consulting chef at Black Calvados near the Champs-Élysées... "It's more than that. The burger has become gastronomic."
The article suggests burgers are a new thing in France and that traditionally the French are averse to a good burger, but this is not quite true. France boasts less McDonald's restaurants than Germany or Britain yet the French eat more McDonald's burgers than any other European nations. On top of that, new branches of the fast food chain open at a rapid rate of knots. However, what is new is the gourmet end of the "messy, fast and foreign" burger experience but even there, the French may have taken their lead from their American cousins.
As far as I can tell, it was the Americans who first married foie gras with the burger. And they didn't just marry it, they blew the burger budget out the window. This seemingly insane hybrid first appeared in the ever over-the-top land of Las Vegas. In typically sinful Las Vegas style, The Mandalay Hotel serves a $5,000 burger (not including tip and tax) called the FleurBurger 5000. The French equivalent goes for a mere $56.
I'm always on the look out for a good burger, but I'm not sure if my budget or my taste buds would stretch to the chicburgers in Paris (I know they won't stretch to las Vegas, no matter how low the dollar sinks). Has this trend hit Britain yet? Or are we all quite content just to settle on a good Burger King once in a while?