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McDonald's chicken says 'au revoir' to Italian flavor

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Shannon Stapleton / Reuters / File

(Read caption) A man walks out of a McDonald's restaurant in New York in this Jan. 24, 2011, file photo. The chain is switching from an Italian to a more neutral, French flavoring for its premium McDonald's chicken sandwich.

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Chicken sandwich connoisseurs may notice a certain je ne sais quoi in McDonald's new grilled chicken.

That’s because the restaurant is stepping away from its traditional Italian-flavored chicken (don’t worry if you never noticed) to achieve “a more neutral flavor profile,” Dan Coudreaut, McDonald's menu director, told the Nation's Restaurant News, an industry publication.

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The new premium chicken will be seasoned with mirepoix, which is a French seasoning made from onions, carrots, and celery, as well as salt, pepper, and “maybe a little garlic and herb,” Mr. Coudreaut told NRN.

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Chicken of this kind of refined subtlety needs a bun to match. The white bun, previously oval-shaped, will be swapped for a round one, with whole grains and cracked wheat.

Besides its new chicken recipe, McDonald's has a few other changes afoot. It is reintroducing the Asian salad – which will be topped with the new chicken – and it is rolling out a few new sauces for its chicken McNuggets and Chicken Selects breast strips.

The ranch dressing, which has traditionally been served with the chicken strips will have “more of a buttermilk flavor,” and will be available for McNuggets, too, Dan Coudreaut told the trade publication. And there will also be a Thai-inspired dipping sauce: hot buffalo and sweet chili.