Jambon de Paris, also known as Paris-style ham, is a slow-cooked, unsmoked ham traditionally prepared by artisanal butcher shops in Paris—the capital city of France—and its outskirts.
Make no doubt about it: the best way to keep a baguette fresh is to eat it a couple of hours or so after buying it. At least this is what the French, who invented baguette bread in the first place, tend to do. The typical Frenchman or woman will pick up a crispy baguette from the local bakery on their way back home from work—and have it for dinner.
Unless you live in France, you probably don’t have the luxury of living near a French bakery (also called boulangerie), or the time to make a detour to the grocery store to pick up freshly-baked baguette bread every evening.
A couple of years ago, I found myself hungry and in a hurry on the streets of Paris. I opened my phone and googled what a Parisian person would do in my situation. So I went to the nearest bakery and bought myself a Jambon-beurre sandwich.
Jambon-beurre is a classic French sandwich made of a baguette that’s sliced open, spread with butter, and filled with slices of ham. It’s super popular in France — every day, more than 3 million Jambon-beurre sandwiches are sold nationwide.
And, if you ask me, for a good reason. This ingeniously simple sandwich lets its three ingredients speak for themselves. The long and thin baguette, creamy and sweet butter, and salty wet cured ham are a true match made in heaven.
If you’re here, you probably agree with me already. And you’re here to find out the answer to a very specific question: “What’s the best ham for Jambon-beurre?”
When you think of French cuisine, what recipes come first to mind? Maybe French onion soup, duck confit, or gratin. Or was it filet mignon and beef bourguignon? Whichever recipes you thought of first, I bet you they didn’t have much to do with classic French sandwiches. The ones they serve in those century-old Parisian cafés and bars with a cozy atmosphere with quiet music, wooden interior, and dim lighting.
That’s right. If you live outside of France, you don’t really hear and see much about French café and bar food. Time to fix this. Because some of the most delicious sandwiches you could possibly eat in your entire lifetime come from this lesser-known branch of classic French cuisine.
Two of them are the Croque Monsieur and Monte Cristo sandwiches. In this post, I’m going to show you what each of these sandwiches is — plus how they’re similar and in what ways they’re different.
Hope you’re excited about this as I am! Let’s go.
The first time I had a jambon beurre sandwich was several years ago on a trip to Paris. I flew in too late for lunch and a little too early for dinner. Since I slept on the plane, I hadn’t eaten anything that day. I decided I’d look for a quick bite that was just enough to tame my hunger, but not enough to ruin my appetite for the rest of the day.
I headed to the Paris city center and looked up the best artisanal bakeries on Tripadvisor. “If there’s one place you can eat a great snack at 4 PM in Paris,” I thought to myself, “that’s got to be an old bakery.” I found the one I liked and asked for a recommendation from the staff behind the counter (I speak a little French, so I got the good tips).
And so I ordered the jambon-beurre sandwich. Ever since, I’ve been recreating this experience over and over (and over) again at home.
In this post, I’m going to tell you why and how to do the same.