Wednesday, August 5, 2015
This week I’ll be leaving chère Paris and moving to my husband’s hometown in Utrecht, the Netherlands. Will I miss Paris? Of course. I’ll miss being able to buy fruits and vegetables at the convenience stores and outside metro stops. I’ll miss the communal bike system. I’ll miss the butter infused air outside of bakeries. I’ll miss people shaking thier head and saying “oh la la” with a menacing pucker of their lips.
So now that I’m leaving, it’s only right to acknowledge them and in all their odd pizza glory expressed in the 5 following tendencies which are pretty dang French.
- The cracked egg on top
French people tend to use eggs like Americans use sprigs of parsely. You can never be sure when one will appear on your food at a restaurant. It will be notoriously runny, a signature on galettes and steak tartar, some French people throw them on pizzas too.
- Extreme proofing times
Many of the most valued French products come from some process of aging. Bread is made with old strains of mother yeast, wine ages in the cellar, cheese in caves and truffles take years growing in the ground. The slower method is generally seen as the most delicious and most precious in French culture. Corporate Chef at Galbani cheese Bruno Bertrand let his pizza rest for 11 days before serving it topped with Galbani at the Parizza food show. He explained that over time, the fermentation process will give the dough a rich and distinct aroma due to the alcohol that develops in the dough after proofing for days upon days. French love the taste of alcohol, just look at all their
cognac sauces, coq au vins and boeuf bourguignons.
- Pizzerias regularly close for a month in August
I recently heard that Paris is the most visited city in the world and least revisited. Perhaps tourists don’t come back because in Paris, the customer is not king. During the month of August you will be hard pressed to find stores open even for your daily baguette, much less to find a pizza. Where have they all gone? Parisians notoriously find their way to the beach during the month of August leaving the few lunch places open for business slammed at lunch time. This place is closed the entire month of August. Boo.
- White pizzas are as popular as red sauce
White pizzas are gaining some traction in the U.S. but in France it’s been mainstream for a while. Menus are organized simply into cream-based pizzas and tomato based pizzas. On the cream-based pizzas, toppings tend to get scarily lavish which brings me to my next point…
- Unthinkably caloric toppings
Potatos, bacon, cream and cheese is a completely normal topping combination at a pizzeria in Paris (and they call Americans fat??) Truth be told, French people love their white carbs, salted butter and cream. I’m told this is why they need red wine, to cancel it all out. One of my favorite high-calorie pizzas comes from the South of France where they are known for putting tiny raviolis filled with cream sandwiches between a layer of cream and cheese. It’s called pizza raviole and it’s as delicious as it is redundant. Next to it is a pizza with bacon and potatoes.