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November 3, 2021

How to pair wine with a McChicken with cheese and bacon

When it comes to matching booze to any situation – from day rave to degustation – Mark Kamleh, co-founder of events company Wine Country, is a trusted source. In this edition of The Takeaway Somm, he pairs an Adelaide Hills wine to match a hacked McDonald's order.

  • Interview: Johnny von Einem
  • Illustration: Emilly Daws

Why is the McChicken with cheese and bacon a superior McDonald’s order?
It’s not the greatest thing on the menu, but it’s an item I choose most often. I worked at McDonald’s when I was a teenager. Me and the other burger engineers ran all kinds of off-menu tests – some gross (the jam donut: two cheeseburger tops, filled with jam, deep fried, slammed with sugar), some delicious (the McChicken with cheese and bacon). This delicious creation has stood the test of time.  Sometimes less is more. In this case, more is more.


The Takeaway Somm
In every print edition of CityMag, we ask an Adelaide wine lover to pair wine with their most-ordered takeaway item according to the app of their choosing.

See how to pair wine with:
T-Chow’s Salt & Pepper Eggplant
Sit Lo’s Banh Mi

Do you ever add additional items to your order?
Very often I will get a cheeky six-pack of nuggets, a serve of fries, and a little cheeseburger. Gotta cover all the food groups. 

Under what circumstances do you find you most need an order of McDonald’s delivered?
Looking at my order history, the majority of orders have been pretty early in the morning – 2am, 3am, 4am. Looks like I order most when I’m heading home or when the party continues at a friend’s house after the venues in the city close. 

Why McDonald’s over other fast-food alternatives?
Twenty-four-hour service means I can get treats anywhere, at any time. 

When choosing a wine pairing, what flavours in the burger are important to consider?
When thinking about a wine match, I think about the sauce, the fat, the salt, and how these things work together on the overall feel of the burger in my mouth after every bite. The cheese and mayo give a creamy feel and contribute to the fat; the chicken and bacon add salt, crunch, and MORE fat. 

I also think about the drinks available at McDonalds, and how well they match with my beloved McChicken with cheese and bacon. My soft drink of choice would have bubbles, it would have a little sweetness to deal with the salt, it would have acid to take care of the fat, and it would match perfectly with my meal. The thinking person’s drink is Fanta.

What South Australian wine best pairs to a McChicken with cheese and bacon?
I choose to match my meal with Commune of Buttons’ 2021 Pretty Fun Pét Nat.

Like Fanta, it’s full of bubbles, just the right amount of acid, and has perfect fruit sweetness.

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