Pizza-delivery drones could be on their way to France

Forget traipsing to the bistro for your steak tartare - soon, you could get a pizza flying directly to your house, thanks to a plan by Domino's to bring delivery drones to France.

Pizza-delivery drones could be on their way to France
Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No, it's your pizza. Photo: AFP

It's excellent news for picky eaters and all those who are just fed up of dealing with the typical grumpy Parisian waiter.

The first successful demonstration of the delivery took place in Auckland, New Zealand on Thursday, and the drones will be launched there first, but the American pizza company has set its sights on France next, if the tests go to plan.

The news will be welcomed by many French people; despite their reputation as culinary snobs, they scoff more pizza than any other nationality.

Domino's New Zealand drones – which will be the first ever commercial drone delivery service in the world, despite tech giants Google and Amazon investing massive resources into drones – will launch fully later this year.

The drones, created by startup Flirtey, carry your pizza in “state-of-the-art packaging that retained the temperature and taste” of the meal, and once it arrives, you'd be alerted by a smartphone notification.

They will be used alongside the company's other delivery methods, wherever they would be faster than a scooter or bike delivery.

“We've always said that it doesn't make sense to have a two-tonne machine delivering a two-kilo object,” said Domino's CEO Don Meij.

France is one of six countries where Domino's hopes to bring its pizza drones if the initial trial in New Zealand is successful. The others are Germany, Australia, Belgium, the Netherlands and Japan. The project has been in the works since 2013.

However, before pizzas take to the sky here in France, Domino's will first face administrative battles. Delivery by drone is not currently allowed in well-populated areas of France; drones are subject to heavy regulation and are generally only allowed in rural spaces. One tourist even ended up behind bars for a drone flight around Notre Dame cathedral.

Meanwhile, across the border in Switzerland, the national post office began testing delivery drones last week, but they said it would take around five years before customers would get their parcels from a drone.


Frenchman’s ‘fish soup’ pizza beats Italy to world cup crown

Frenchman Ludovic Bicchierai has been crowned the world's best pizza-maker thanks to a dish inspired by the French fish soup, bouillabaisse.

Frenchman's 'fish soup' pizza beats Italy to world cup crown
Frenchman Ludovic Bicchierai, centre, won top prize at Italy's pizza world championships. Photo: Campionato Mondiale della Pizza

Bicchierai, who works at the Pizzeria La Gusto in Sausset les Pins, just outside Marseilles, scooped top prize late last week after wowing judges with the unconventional seafood pizza at the 25th edition of the Pizza World Championships in Parma.

The pizza was topped with tomatoes, bream carpaccio, mozzarella, courgette flowers, prawns and Tabasco sauce – flavours the Frenchman says were inspired by Provençal cuisine.

“This is the second time I've taken part in the competition, but this year I thought I'd use the traditional French fish soup as my inspiration,” he said.

In order to get his hands on the prestigious pizza gong, not to mention a voucher for 1000kg of free flour, Bicchierai had to beat off competition from 650 pizza-makers from 35 different countries around the globe.

Non-Italians have only managed to scoop top prize in the contest twice before – in 2011 and 2015 – but nobody was begrudging the Frenchman his victory.

“Even though pizza is an Italian icon, it's always a pleasure for us to see foreigners walk away with the prize from time to time,” event spokesperson Patrizio Carrer told The Local.

While Italy missed out on first prize this year, second and third places were taken by two Sicilians, Alfio Russo and Niccolo Cusumano, from Siracusa and Messsina, respectively.

The Frenchman's victory came a week after an outcry was prompted by a French carbonara recipe video, which offended Italian viewers with its liberal interpretation of the authentic dish.

Prime Minister Matteo Renzi also fanned the flames of the two countries' food rivalry last week, by insisting that Italian wines had overtaken French ones in terms of quality.

For now at least, the French can lay claim to the world's best pizza-maker.