The jambon-beurre or ham-and-butter sandwich is a lunchtime staple in Paris, to such an extent that it’s been dubbed le Parisien: the Parisian.
But not all ham-and-butter sandwiches are created alike (a problem that I explored in-depth for Vice). Many are made with low-quality ingredients, which is why when you find a good one, you save the address. And you’ll always get a good jambon-beurre at Chez Aline.
Chez Aline is the brainchild of Delpine Zampetti, previously of natural wine bar Le Verre Volé. In seeking out a way that she could continue to work in the food space but avoid the long nights and weekends of most chefs, she created this local cantine that serves up excellent ever-changing salads, a different plat du jour every day, and one of the most coveted jambon-beurre sandwiches in the capital.
The sandwich’s success starts with the quality of its ingredients: the ham is sourced from the last traditional producer of “jambon de Paris,” a slow-cooked ham that is tender and filled with flavor thanks to an aromatic brine and authentic, traditional techniques.
The generous portion of ham is made even more luxurious with a thick swipe of Norman salted butter, all served on crisp baguette from Lendemaine.
The sandwich’s quality is further improved by its freshness: in most Parisian bakeries, the sandwiches are prepared in advance and piled in the window for you to purchase quickly and easily. What is gained in convenience is lost in quality: the fillings soak into the bread, making it soggy. At Chez Aline, this problem is avoided by making each sandwich to order.
With all of these little extras, you’d expect the price to be more exorbitant, but in truth, the sandwiches are about the same price as you’ll pay elsewhere in Paris: 5 euro for a simple ham-and-butter, 5.50 if you want to add chorizo or St-Nectaire or Fourme d’Ambert cheese.
Chez Aline is very small (in fact, it’s housed in a former horse butchery, as you’ll be able to tell from the horse head that still looms over the entrance and the sign, which has had one letter swapped out to help it go from reading chevaline to CheZaline). There are a few stools inside where you can enjoy your food, but most patrons work locally (Chez Aline is only opened from 11am to 3pm Monday through Friday), and therefore take their food to go.
The other offerings at Chez Aline are certainly worth trying: the Spanish tortilla de patata is one of the best I’ve had outside the Basque region, and Zampetti’s creative salads are a great improvement on ho-hum carottes rapées or lentilles vinaigrette. But if you pay this shop a visit, make sure you grab a sandwich, too – you won’t regret it.
Chez Aline – 85 Rue de la Roquette, 75011