FOOD: Junk Food World Tour - McDonald's Speculoos McFlurry (France)
Let me start this off by stating I am acutely aware of the humor in my first post following my discussion of health and fitness is a little ditty about a McDonald's ice cream snack, but if you know me this really shouldn't be too much of a surprise. Yes, I'm focused on fitness and health. But I'm also still me. And "me" likes to indulge in junk food, delicious eats, and generally enjoy life.
I may be working on being the world's thinnest globe trotter, but that doesn't mean I'm going to stop enjoying the delicious morsels along the way.
So. The McDonald's Speculoos McFlurry. How did we arrive here?
Having spent the better half of a day exploring the opulence that is Louis XIV's Palace of Versailles in a nearby suburb, my partner and I made our way back to the train station to catch the RER back into Paris. We both noted that we were feeling a bit peckish and while we didn't want to eat a very big meal (we had plans for a fancy dinner back in the city) we noted that perhaps a small snack would do. There really didn't seem to be much in the area directly by the Versailles RER station other than a few kitschy gift shops and ... a McDonald's.
I prefer more local experiences when on the road but as someone who created a blog series about junk food on the road, I'm clearly also not above a little fast food snack either! We hopped through those Golden Arches and took a look at the menu.
And there it was! The Speculoos McFlurry! Apparently this is a standard offering in France and Belgium, though it may also appear elsewhere.
For the uninitiated - speculoos is a spiced flat brown biscuit/cookie commonly found in Europe, though it is by no means confined to that geography. Passengers on airlines like Delta and American may have experienced the joy of being handed a small package of Lotus Biscoff-branded cookies while traveling from here and there. The flavor profile evokes Christmas time or a chai tea. Every bite of speculoos biscuits are packed with hints of cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, ginger, and cardamon. It's sweet and spicy, though subtle and never overpowering. It's a great snack in the air or on the ground. It's even available as a spreadable paste in a jar for those who would like to use it as a dip or toast condiment!
As an avid fan of the concoction, I ordered this with lip licking anticipation.
The size is smaller than your average McFlurry in the US - but that's not necessarily a bad thing. US sizes lead to US waist lines, and I'm trying to get rid of mine! The construction is also familiar - a vanilla soft serve ice cream with mixed in flavor tidbits. In the case of the speculoos variety, those mix-ins were a caramel sauce and crushed up bits of speculoos cookies.
I feel like the use of the caramel sauce was a bit of missed opportunity as it left the full weigh of providing speculoos' unique flavor profile to the crushed up cookies. That being said, caramel was a nice compliment to everything in that cup! As noted, the crushed up cookies were the only element of speculoos in the McFlurry and I thought they were a little stingy with the crumbles. There really wasn't enough of it in the McFlurry to give the treat speculoos flavoring the entire way through. You were pretty much eating a caramel sundae on vanilla ice cream with a pop of speculoos flavoring every third bite. Of course this may have just been an issue with the way the McFlurry was made at this particular location and other McD's may give an extra scoop or two of cookie crumbs.
As it were, I still really liked this offering. I'd obviously prefer that the speculoos flavor be a bit more upfront though I can handle a game of culinary hide and seek from time to time. If I ran across this tidbit here in Chicago or while I'm back on the road, I'd likely give it another order unless there was something more unique or exciting tempting me at the time!