25 January, 2014

Pralines and Cream McFlurry - Chicago, USA - December 2013

I forgot that in the US there are multiple sizes, and they gave me this giant one by default.
How I would have liked to try one of those Pumpkin Pie's! (Photo from brandeating)
Consumed on 30 December 2013
Price - $3.80+tax (USD) 
Calories - 680kcal

I first saw a promotional poster for a Pralines and Cream pie at a McDonald's just across the Michigan/Indiana border.  The only reason I was even at that McDonald's was because my wife and I had flown into Chicago, from Singapore via Abu Dhabi (and also connecting in Kuala Lumpur).  In order to save approximately $600 per person on our flights, we drove from Chicago to Detroit, where I my mother then picked us up and drove us to Canada.  It was such an extremely long day, I needed a coffee to keep me awake for that last drive, so that's why I stopped in this McDonald's.  I had absolutely no interest in having ice cream, so I just thought I would get it at a later time.  I never expected to find it in Canada, as it was a US only promo item, but when we visited a couple branches in Michigan and even down in Florida, I didn't see this on offer at any other branches.  I ended up finding it at the last McDonald's I visited in the US, back in Chicago, before our flight back to Abu Dhabi and Kuala Lumpur.  It was -17 all day, and we only went into this branch because we wanted a coffee to keep warm.  I didn't see it on the main wall regular menu, but only on a small stand up poster on the top of the rubbish bin. I asked if it was still available, and the man taking my order looked at me like I was crazy for asking, another employee overheard me ask, and said "yes, we still have it, but no one orders it any more" which somewhat lowered my expectations of what I was about to try.

Maybe since I'd be one of the last people ordering these, they poured all their remaining Pralines on there - certainly seemed so.

The branch we were in was actually pretty cool on the outside, and trendy on the inside as well. It was nice that was empty at 15:30 when we visited so we were able to get a couch, and fast wifi. After a couple hits of coffee to warm me up, I checked in with work for a bit before I started with the McFlurry.  My wife took the photos while I was responding to an email, and I took my first bite in the middle of typing, and the flavour I tasted caused me to stop and look at what I was eating in approval. Pralines aren't usually my favourite, nor is caramel, but together at that moment, everything just worked.  The caramel was served hot, which even though it was so cold outside let me still enjoy eating the ice cream, and the small pieces of praline worked very well together with it. Since caramel isn't that unique (though its not available in Asian McFlurries) the pralines are what made this a limited time promo.  They had the right amount of crunch that allowed you to not only taste the pecan, but the sugar coating both at the same time.  I took a look at the McDonald's website, and it looks like these were sweetened with real sugar rather than fructose or corn syrup, and it also used real butter, over some of the many alternatives, I guess that's why they tasted so good. The addition of chocolate chunks might have made this my favourite McFlurry ever, but I thought it was great as it was.  Even after I convinced my wife to give it a try (she wanted nothing to do with ice cream, when it was -17 outide), she really enjoyed it as well.  Though I first regretted forgetting to order a smaller size, we did end up finishing it. 

How I survived -17  wearing that jacket I won't know.  Though nothing could have been worse than when I wore a spring jacket in Moscow in January.
Rating - 5/5