Is there anyone who doesn’t know that a Big Mac is ” Two all-beef patties ,special sauce , lettuce , tomato, pickle, and onion on a sesame seed bun” ? It is McDonald’s best known item ( along with their fries) and is synonymous with fast food . It is a quick meal , relatively cheap , convenient and filling . Over the years , it has come in for its share of criticism : Calorie laden. Unhealthy. Tasteless meat . Mystery sauce . Limp lettuce. Soggy bun .Perhaps in answer to those criticisms, McDonald’s tried out a “Designer ” Big Mac , dressing up the basic Big Mac with a variety of toppings and even improving the bun.
The experiment took place in Italy last fall when McDonald’s turned to Gualterio Marchese , then 81, to design two burgers and a dessert . Marchese is renowned as the father of modern Italian cuisine and is the first non- French chef to earn three Michelin stars for his restaurant. One of the burgers Marchese designed was the Vivace burger, topped with sautéed spinach , onions , bacon and mayonnaise blended with a whole grain mustard ( ingredients typical of northern Italy). The other , inspired by Sicilian flavors, was the Adagio , topped with eggplant mousse, grated ricotta , almonds and fresh tomatoes . The burgers cost one euro more than the regular burgers , which translates to a mark-up of about 25-30 %. As for the dessert , it was a combination of the classic Italian dessert , tiramisu , and a sugary bread usually eaten at Christmas.The nationwide promotion was originally scheduled to run 6 weeks but its popularity caused it to be extended for an extra month.
I must admit that both burgers sound interesting and I might have been tempted to try one just out of curiosity. I’d probably go for the Vivace ; you can’t go wrong with bacon and the mayo mustard combo is intriguing. I would n’t care for the Adagio. I’m fine with the eggplant mousse but the grated ricotta is not exciting and the idea of almonds is bizarre.
Beyond the element of curiosity , I don’t think much of the promotion . Marchese ‘s stated intention was to introduce young people to vegetables . A laudable goal but I can’t see how this promotion would be successful in doing that.
Beyond the curiosity value , I don’t think much of the experiment. The toppings might be interesting but do they fundamentally alter the burger? I think not . The mystery meat is still the same . The bun is still the same .And so is the ambience of the McDonald’s where you eat it .
As they say , you can put a dress on a pig , but it’s still a pig.