Fast food devotees at Warilla will be among the nation’s leading foodies this weekend – and not for the first time.
No, Heston Blumenthal is not relocating his restaurant to Warilla Grove.
And truffles have not been discovered growing wild in Reddall Reserve.
Instead, in a move many people will find much more exciting, Warilla’s McDonald’s outlet will be among the first in Australia to sell the famous Big Mac sauce in 500mL bottles to take home.
Warilla will join eight other Macca’s outlets in New South Wales, and 40 nationwide, selling the sauce in bottles from Saturday. For a limited time only, natch.
Other sauce bottle pioneer franchise locations include Coffs Harbour, Orange, Wallsend, Penrith North and Cremorne.
The bottle sales follow last year’s experiment with small tubs of the Big Mac sauce which were sold 25mL at a time. One 500mL bottle was auctioned to raise money for the Ronald McDonald House charity.
The McDonald’s at Warilla has been something of a pioneer in recent years, offering an option of cutlery and crockery after several customers noticed how the owner served his parents when they came by for dinner.
Last year the restaurant even took bookings for table-service dinner on Valentine’s Day – certainly every sweetheart’s dream for a romantic evening.
McDonald’s said it would be releasing only 4000 bottles of the sauce. After that will likely depend on how the experiment goes.
The move is another major departure from the traditional McDonald’s strategy of keeping the sauce a closely-guarded secret. But times change and today’s eating public demands more more transparency. So do food regulators.
The sauce is selling for $4.95 for a large 500mL bottle. Even then, it’s a fair bet that if this sauce trial is a success, the profit-per-litre would be much greater when selling bottles, than just handing the stuff over the counter for free, sitting in between some patties, lettuce and a sesame-seed-something-or-other.
And then Macca’s can think about charging an extra 40c for a dollop of the stuff on your hamburger, like so many unscrupulous bakeries do with a meat pie, as if the sauce wasn’t an intrinsic part of the pie already, like sushi and soy, or a conjoined twin.
They wouldn’t do that would they? No of course they wouldn’t. No way.
The real gain for McDonald’s is pushing the chain’s iconic status as a popular brand, while generating stacks of free publicity such as this article, and all the time using this to remind people what they really enjoy about the taste of a Big Mac.
Mmmm. Actually I could go one right now. But it’s not the taste of the meat I remember.
Of course once you arrive super-early in the morning, wait in a queue, part with your $4.95 for the sauce, slip outside, sneak across the car park, jump in your car and lock all the doors, the catch is that you still have to cook something yourself before using the sauce, which isn’t exactly the idea with fast food now, is it?
But as the international hamburger giant reminds customers in its promotional information, there are other options.
Those who get themselves a bottle of the stuff will be able to make almost any meal taste like a Big Mac. Hot chips, roast pork, sushi, perhaps a competitor’s fried chicken.
In case buying the sauce in a bottle isn’t enough, or if you get to Warilla just in time to watch the last bottle being swept out the door, do not panic.
Below, we give you the recipe. Or at the very least least we give you the least a list of ingredients, which seem to be mostly soybean oil, water, various sugars, egg yolks and mustard.
It would be tempting to put them all together and shake well. But judging by some of them, you may need a science degree to put them together.
Or you could call on Mr Blumenthal himself.
Here’s the list, via Macca’s on its website (in parentheses are sub-ingredients which are included in a major ingredient type such as “mustard”).
Soybean Oil (Antioxidant (330))
Relish [Pickles, Sugar, High Fructose Corn Syrup, Distilled Vinegar, Corn Syrup, Salt, Thickener (415), Preservative (202), Spice Extract, Emulsifier (433)]
Mustard [Water, Vinegar, Mustard Seed, Salt, Sugar, Colours (100, 150d), Spice]
Salted Egg Yolks
Thickeners (1442, 415, 405)
Hydrolysed Protein (Corn, Gluten, Wheat, Soy)
Colours (160c, 150d, 100)