In its continuing efforts to incorporate French sensibilities into its menu abroad, tomorrow McDonald's France will unleash a line of limited-edition burgers that feature such beloved French cheeses as Camembert, Comte, Chevre, and Raclette. And, as The Australian reports, some French people are already pretty upset about the whole thing, with Camembert producers in particular complaining that they "feel used."
Patrick Mercier, chairman of an association of Camembert producers in Normandy, tells the newspaper that McDonald's never consulted with the organization on the McCamembert. Though Basse-Normandie reports that Camembert is the second most popular cheese in France, its name is not protected. Therefore, non-Normandy producers are able to label their cheese "Camembert" outside of the AOC Camembert de Normandie. Mercier says that the McDonald's version is "as bottom of the market as you can get. It comes from Brittany."
So how does "bottom of the market" Camembert taste on a sandwich? Well, Fast and Food conducted a professional taste test, concluding, "The slices of Camembert are rather smooth, lack strength, it's really not the taste of Camembert that we know but something lighter. A number of customers will surely be disappointed..." L'Express makes the same point, writing that the cheese could even be confused with a Brie. McDonald's France marketing director Nawal Trabelski tells the paper that the company, "had to find the happy medium between too strong and not enough" to be able to reach the greatest number of consumers.
Either way, these burgers are bound to sell pretty well in the country that The Australian notes was McDonald's second-biggest market after the US in 2011. The four specialty cheese burgers roll onto the menu on February 12 for six weeks and cost 4.50 euros ($6).
· Cheesemakers revolt over 'McCamembert' [The Australian]
· The Camembert burger McDonald's does not come from Normandy [Baisse Normandie]
· Camembert Burger from McDonald's [Fast and Food]
· We tested the new "Mc Camembert" McDonald's [L'Express]
· All McDonald's Coverage on Eater [-E-]