McDonald’s Goes Italian

In the Netherlands the McKroket has been around for a few years now. It’s the American fastfood giant’s interpretation of the traditional Dutch deep-fried kroket snack. It doesn’t taste like a real kroket at all; it’s rather nasty, actually. But hey, I’ll give them points for trying to adapt to local markets.

Blogger Shakespeare Politics tipped me off to the newest hamburger in the line-up, at least here in Italy. It’s huge, it comes on a square bun, and it has a slice of original Parmigiano Reggiano on top of the meat. Topped off with just lettuce and tomatoes, it’s marketed as the ideal marriage between “the quality of McDonald’s products and the tradition of Parmigiano Reggiano”, which is one of the finest cheeses in the world. Of course, I had to go taste this marvel of Italian cucina and since they’ve opened a restaurant along the A3 Salerno-Reggio, a five minute walk from my house, that’s easy enough to do.

I sort of expected something good, something with a hint of the subtleties of Italian cooking. Some spices, some herbs, and a good panino to put it between. What I got was basically a hamburger with no seasoning whatsoever – tasting very bland. They make a great deal about using only 100% veal of Italian origin here, but they fail to turn it into something tasty and juicy like a good burger could be. This slab of dead cow, topped off with the cheese, lettuce and tomatoes, is then served in a rather dry bun.

There is the instant recognition of the taste of Parmigiano when you take that first bite. It’s the only noteworthy taste in the whole burger and as such it is lost in the sea of the usual McDonald’s drabness. A thin slice of Parmigiano alone is not good enough by far to save this hamburger from it’s misery. After eating it, I thought it was a waste of Parmigiano. It’s like mixing your cola with a fine 16 year old Single Malt.

Arrogant McDonald’s does nothing at all to match the unmistakable greatness of the Parmigiano cheese. And I think they should turn that marketing ploy around: it’s a marriage between the tradition of McDonald’s – the production of quick and bland slop – and the quality of Parmigiano Reggiano.

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3 Comments

  1. Glad to see you enjoyed it ;-)

    At least your burger provided “the instant recognition of the taste of Parmigiano” – on the one I had there was so much so-called ‘special’ sauce that I didn’t even notice the piece of elite cheese.

    This reminds me of another McSchifo experience – at the train station in Palermo they served me a Big Tasty that was almost completely raw. I didn’t notice at first because the sauce & salad masked the taste of the soft, pink meat. But the staff was kind enough to give me another one in recompense…

  2. Hey, just tonight I drank a glass of my own invention, hailing from fourty years ago: coke and grappa, tasting more or less like molten aluminum — delicious.

    Only the idea of adding a slice of expensive parmigiano reggiano to what essentially amounts to a meatball is of course a sin one should only refer to in private, it being obnoxious at least and, let’s face it, vulgar. Then if you must use grana padano, but taleggio is even better, as it has hardly any taste of itself.

    Talking about cheese: the best Italian cheese is farmer’s pickled cheese, great to eat with tons of good bread and bath tubs of red wine.

    Of course it’s all a question of taste. The first and foremost rule: never visit anything resembling a McDonald’s, or as McDonald’s staff in Holland lovingly say: McDrek (‘McShit’) .

    And returning to cheese: the most exquisite cheese in the world is of course Gruyère. And one should forgive an old man like me for liking good old Dutch ‘overjarige brokkelkaas’ which amounts to a deep yellow piece of hard cheese that you can’t cut, but only break into small pieces (brokken); it tastes heavenly, with a sharp edge.

  3. Oh yes, ‘overjarige’, lovely. Overjarig literally means ‘more than a year old’ as it has ripened for more than 12 months. This is what gives it the sharp taste and the dry and hard substance. It’s an acquired taste as most people would prefer some young (6 weeks) and creamy Gouda instead.
    Don’t get me started, I worked at the Campina cheese factory…

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