So, few months ago I wrote a post about the revolutionary release of the Mc Baguette in France on April 18th 2012 and here I am on vacation over there!
Yes, I promise that I did not plan the trip just for that!
Let's step back a minute to understand few things:
- Bread is a huge thing in France. In every French restaurant, they will systematically bring you a bread basket. Boulangeries (bakeries) are everywhere and you will often see people carrying a baguette or some bread, most of the time eating the end of it on their way home.
- Baguette is the most popular bread, but not the only one.
- A recent study for the Sandwich and Snack trade fair indicated that 65% of the 2 billion sandwiches eaten each year in France are made with baguette.
- The fast food industry represented 33 billion Euros (approx. $43 billion) in France showing an increase in a country that traditionally resisted to it! Mc Donald's, present since 1979, is a big part of it.
- Mc Donald's is already serving in its Mc Cafes macarons and bread from the Holder Group that owns Laduree and Paul bakery (chain that makes delicious bread and sandwiches)
So, while in Grenoble, I could not resist to the temptation to try the Mc Baguette. I went to one of the Mc Donald's, located cours Jean Jaures. This place used to be a gas station before being sold to the fast food chain. I have to say that they created a very nice restaurant, very modern looking as you can see on the photo below.
So here I am, an American visiting France and eating in a Mc Donald's! At least, I am sure how to pronounce what I will order. I pick the medium menu: Mc Baguette, a soda (Coke zero) and fries. Few minutes later, here it comes!
So, I take out the sandwich from the bag. No surprise at this point: it is meat, cheese, lettuce and mustard sauce on a piece of bread.
But, the meat is supposed to be of high quality from one of the best cattle (charolais). The cheese is French emmental. I cannot miss the fact that the sandwich is falling apart: ok, they rushed to do it. Then I see that the cheese is not melted. Too bad.
I take a first bite. The bread is pretty good: it tastes fresh and crispy. The cheese is as good as an emmental can be. But the meat is awful! They would have said that it was like a big mac in a baguette, it would have been fine; but they advertised the meat! Adding to that the stale fries, this was not a great experience and I am happy that I was not planning on having this as a meal, but more as a snack, to try it.
The Mc Baguette will be served in a limited time and I am not sure it will be successful. For the meal, I paid 6.50 Euros ($9). For the same price, I can have a great sandwich from a bakery.
The last thought I had concerns the perception of burgers that French people probably have. When my family came to New York few years ago, I suggested them to go to BRGR to try a real burger: they still remember how good it was. As many people associate burgers with America, it is too bad that their only reference is the tasteless burgers served in fast food chains.
Enjoy (the post, for the sandwich, go to BLT burger...)!
And remember: I just want to eat!