Ever since I was a little kid, I have been fortunate enough to frequently visit the prestine country of Switzerland, a quaint utopian world where things just seem better. The air is fresher, the cities are calmer, and even the cow poop smells nice .
But despite all the time I have spent in the Swiss mountains, I have ignored the ever-looming presence of Rivella. This beverage is advertised on pretty much every corner of Switzerland, and shows up on all menus. While I enjoy the occasional cream soda, or can of Barq’s root beer, I really am not much of a soft-drink fan. So I have always neglected Rivella…in fact I had no idea even what it really was…
We are in the small Alpine town of Zermatt, preparing for a climb to a nearby summit, when our Swiss guide and friend orders a Rivella. He kindly offers me a sip, and I tell him I am not in the mood for a cola…
He then explains Rivella is NOT Coke, and is actually more popular in Switzerland then Coke is. So what is so special about this uniquely Swiss beverage?
Well…it is made with milk… This is a DAIRY based soda. Sounds kind of gross… right?
Rivella is made from the watery part of milk and reveatevly few other ingredients to create a very special soda that is only really found in Switzerland.
It come in three flavors/varieties, and true Swiss order it by the color of the label, not by the flavor description. So our guide had ordered a Rivella ‘Red’, which was the original flavor. After been told what this soda was made of, I took the opportunity to try the stuff. Apparently I am no true ‘Swiss.’ The flavor to me seemed like the bad combination of the acid from a citrus fruit paired with mellow tang of a glass of milk. It just reminded me of why I never drink orange juice while eating a bowl of cereal for breakfast; I think the base of the milk and the acid of the citrus just clash too much.
BUT, Rivella clearly does have a loyal following. Many people do love the uniquely tangy soda creation. The Swiss love the stuff, and many Fench cross the border just to pick up cases of this only-sold-in-Switzerland drink. The rest of the Fed Up family that was accompanying me on this trip all enjoyed Rivella. While they said they would stick with their go-to Coke, the Rivera was a nice way to fully immerse one’s self in Swiss culture and cuisine.
So if you get the chance, try some Rivella. You may just fall in love with this dairy-based soda, and discover that you have a little ‘Swiss’ in you.