Thursday, December 11, 2008

A Local Drink Roundup from Barcelona

From left: Ruffles Jamón, Fanta Naranja, Fanta Limon, Vichy Catalan, Veri Agua, Ruffles Picanha

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.

Avalle Gazpacho, TriNaranjus, Goshua Arroz con Leche, and Te BlancoNo, 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.

SuísOn 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?

Estrella DamnAlcohol-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.

Yahoo Supermercado Rápido

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.

The Orange Juice MachineFinally, 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.


Anonymous said...

Interesting mention about the fresh orange juice. My dad became obsessed with that stuff while in Italy and has been on a constant search for the juices they used here in the states. He's found a few close ones but hasn't found an orange juice that compares to what he'd order in Rome. He even wanted to look at ordering directly from Italy!

E L said...

nice post! i lived in Barcelona for a year and your post brought back some memories. Especially about the orange juice. The machine everyone uses to make fresh OJ in Barca is called a Zumador, and they have them *everywhere*--bars, restaurants...even in McDonalds. They are available in the states, but are not cheap.

Su-Lin said...

Ah, my usual order of a Suis! And if that's not enough cream for you, the granjas will sell you a plate of whipped cream. I once saw a little boy work his way through an entire plate with some xurros!

Kathy said...

Nothing beats fresh oranges from Spain, except maybe the fresh orange juices on the streets of Bangkok, which are slightly bitter sweet at times.

Bryan said...

Last time I went to Barcelona, the only thing I could drink was Vichy Catalan. I love it! and When I got back home to HK, I found it was available here, and cheap too, only HKD$15.

I miss Europe, and I love your blog, it makes me very hungry and thirsty!