Earlier this week, I read in the French newspaper that France is currently the second highest consumer of pizza in the world, right behind the United States! Both countries far surpass Italy, the country that we typically associate with pizza. I guess that explains why there are so many places selling pizza here, whether as a sit-down restaurant or a take-away street side stop.
This year, the fourth annual Pizza & Pasta Expo was held in Paris from the 29th to 30th of March. The exhibitors have been increasing by ~20% every year. Its growing popularity and success has made it into a well-regarded expo across Europe. Apparently, last year, the French were crowned as the best pizza makers in the world. The objectivity of the results remain somewhat debatable, but all these facts clearly show the growing status of pizza in France.
Some statistics about France (I have included some US data for comparison, although one must keep in mind the difference in population (FR: 65.8 million, US: 308.7 million) and land area (FR: 0.67 million km2, US: 9.8 million km2):
- France consumes 1.2 billion pizzas per year out of the 30 billion consumed worldwide (3 billion in the US)
- An average of 10 kg of pizza per person are consumed per year, double that of the Italians (the US consumes ~10.5 kg per person per year)
- For each hamburger, 9 sandwiches and 16 pizzas are sold
- There are currently 16,000 pizzerias listed and 3,000 mobile pizza vendors (61,296 pizzerias in the US)
- Reine (ham, white button mushrooms, and mozzarella), margherita, and calzone comprise 75% of the pizza flavours sold. Four cheese follows closely.
The French tend to prefer thin crust pizza, which is a plus for us. My husband loves the thin crispy crust version. It was quite easily accessible in England; but for some reason, Geneva seemed to be caught in between thin and thick, making a crust that seemed more bread-like. We had a recipe from an Italian colleague, but I never got around to making it because: 1) yeast, unfortunately, still remains foreign to me (!!), and 2) we didn't really have the necessary equipment to reproduce the type of pizza crust that my husband would like (i.e. pizza stone, high heat). We managed to find an acceptable replacement, but it remained a sorely missed part of his diet. Here, in Aix, the choices are overflowing; and fortunately, we've found a take-away pizzeria close to home that my husband enjoys!
(French statistics and information from France Soir and Direct Aix Plus. US data from various sources collected by Mama De Luca's Pizza; there are lots more interesting statistics on the website, if interested.)