McDonald’s France promo pairs “baguette” burgers with famous cheeses

french cheeseIn a move that’s either sheer genius or…a sign of the Apocalypse, McDonald’s France is giving their cheeseburgers a serious makeover. From February 15th through March 27th, customers will be able to get their burgers on a baguette, with a choice of four different French cheeses–three of which are prestigious Protected Designation of Origin (PDO; formerly known in France as Appellation d’origine contrôlée, or AOC) products. These cheeses are under strict production guidelines and can only be made within a specific area in their region of origin. Ooh la la!

According to culture: the word on cheese (full disclosure: I’m a contributing editor), the cheese selection consists of Cantal, a buttery alpine style; Fourme d’Ambert, a creamy, spicy blue; Saint-Nectaire, an earthy semi-soft number, and “generic” chèvre, aka fresh goat cheese.

The cheesemonger/writer in me is thrilled to see something other than processed orange crap on a hamburger, and in France, I think this concept will fly. I don’t think America is ready for le gourmet burger with cheese yet, but it will be a great day when fast food actually consists of real food.

5 French Phrases to Know When Cheese Tasting

Make your reservations now for Chicago Restaurant Week

Ah, Chicago Restaurant Week. One of the few things that will get city residents out of their apartments when the temperature dips into the negative double-digits. From February 19 to 26, over 100 restaurants in the city and suburbs will be offering special prix fixe menus at $22 for lunch and $32 for dinner.

Known as one of the best times to try a new or normally too expensive restaurant at an affordable price, Restaurant Week is also often a time when the chefs try a few more daring dishes to spice up the usual menu. And some of the city’s most celebrated chefs and restaurants are participating. Among them are Topolobampo (owned by celeb-chef Rick Bayless), NoMi, Carnivale, and Blue 13, where the lobster pizza is to-die-for. At several of these places, it would be darn near impossible to get a three-course meal for under $60 per person, let alone a mere $32.

Most of the restaurants participating already have their menus up and are taking reservations. Many are also offering drink specials along with dinner, so you can use the money you save to enjoy a few more glasses of wine.

Last year, the city extended Restaurant Week into March, but don’t count on it happening again. You can view the full list of participating restaurants here.

London Restaurant Festival opens today

England has an unfair reputation for bad cuisine. While this is the land of jellied eels and mushy peas, things have changed in recent years and now there are a lot more choices, especially in the nation’s capital.

From October 8-13, the London Restaurant Festival will highlight the amazing range of eateries in the city. You can find literally any kind of food here from familiar favorites such as French and Italian to more exotic choices such as Nigerian and Afghani. And of course there are countless Indian and Chinese restaurants.

But don’t forget British food! Celebrity chefs will be showing off at different venues throughout the festival, and will get together at London’s Leadenhall Market this Sunday, October 11, to host the city’s largest Sunday roast.

If you make it to only one event in this festival, make it to this. Sunday roast is an age-old British tradition and shows the national cuisine at its best. Celebrity chefs such as Richard Corrigan and Fergus Henderson will be cooking up beef, lamb, pork, wild roe deer, and game birds along with the usual trimmings such as vegetables, gravy, and pudding. British game such as quail and grouse is especially good.

Even if you can’t make the festival, try out a Sunday roast at a carvery or pub, but be careful because some venues serve pre-prepared meals they only heat up. A good Sunday roast made from scratch like I get at my local pub in Oxford is heaven for meat lovers.

Gadling Take FIVE- April 4-April 10

There are still travel deals out there and specials to keep your eye on. Plus, with spring comes certain events that can mean discounts. Here are Gadling posts from this past week that point to the diversity in travel pleasures from the free to the less expensive.

  • In Italy, from April 18 to 26, it’s Italian Culture Week. As Alison wrote, this means many attractions are free, and in some cases, the only time during the year when they are open to the public..
  • One trend that’s great news for travelers is the one where upscale restaurants are offering less expensive meals. Tom’s post on pris fixe menus is a reminder that these are the days when deals can appear where you least expect them.
  • Not only are higher end restaurants becoming cheaper, so is New Zealand. Grant outlined ten reasons why a person should go to New Zealand sooner than later.
  • One detail about spring is the loveliness of flowers that belong to every one who is lucky enough to pass by flowerbeds and/or flowering trees every day. In the Netherlands the tulips are everyone’s treasure. Scott has the scoop on KLM’s very own tulip. The tulip was acquired as part of KLM’s 90th year birthday celebration.
  • With wedding season upon us, Annie found a great deal for people who are looking for wedded bliss AND happen to have family and friends with money. The Ritz-Carlton hotel chain is running a wedding special that sounds divine. It does follow the adage, “it takes money to make money” or something like that.

And one more. If you haven’t watched this video taken at the Antewerp Belgium train station, you’ve missed out on a feel good time. It’s sort of a Sound of Music for everyone extravaganza. Here’s handing you a smile that will cost you nothing to get.