Thursday, December 11, 2008
A Local Drink Roundup from Barcelona
Time for another local drink roundup. Being in Europe, Fanta was readily available, but soda was often provided in very small glass bottles. And being in Europe, of course there was bottled water everywhere, including this Vichy Catalan brand of carbonated (and mildly salty) water. Those locally flavored chips tasted just as they sounded with a light hint of ham and Brazilian picanha flavor.
No, your eyes aren't fooling you. That was gazpacho in a milk carton. For some reason, we didn't really come across too much gazpacho on this trip; I'm not sure if it was because this stuff was not commonly consumed in Catalonia or if it was simply because it was too cold in December for anyone to want to drink it. But I love gazpacho and didn't care if it came out of a packaged carton from a supermarket. It was still full of cucumber, garlic, and olive oil flavors. The other items in the photo included some melon-flavored drink that - if I read the label correctly - was some form of white tea (?). I was surprised to find the TriNaranjus to be uncarbonated, while the little arroz con leche was interesting only because it came in a little clay container.
On the left here was the Suís version of xocolata, which pretty much just loaded up on the whipped cream. Separately, one very peculiar thing we encountered on this trip was the fact that the hot tea was often salty. Granted, tea wasn't exactly the beverage of choice around here, but we weren't sure if the saltiness were intentional or not. It seemed that the only way to escape that was to hit up Starbucks, whose presence around here was additionally puzzling to me given the local coffee culture that it had to compete with - and yet Starbucks was always packed. Can anyone shed some light on either of these phenomena?
Alcohol-wise, there was of course plenty of it, including local beer like this Estrella Damm, which was straighforwardly light and went well with some tapas. I'm not a huge wine person so I didn't exactly take advantage of all of everything available here, but I did drink quite a bit of cava, or local sparkling wine. I didn't realize until coming here that sangria was really only for tourists.
Oh - and check out this gigantic vending machine that we came across - by sheer size it puts Japanese vending machines to shame, although such behemoths were definitely not as ubiquitously located. It was interesting to see Coke's Aquarius brand of sports drinks available here too, especially given its prevalance in Japan.
Finally, I loved the omnipresence of freshly squeezed orange juice around here (zumo de naranja). Many places had these big machines that automatically loaded up the oranges, sliced them, and juiced away. Others juiced them by hand, but either way it was fresh. I wasn't quite sure why Sunny Delight (yep - bottles of SunnyD) seemed to be so popular here as a result, but then I realized that this might be because its European HQ is based in Barcelona.
Digested at 9:29 AM
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