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Product review: CASCAL fermented soda

On the surface, it sounds kind of funny and maybe not too appetizing–“fermented soda.” And maybe when you realize that CASCAL is a product endorsed by Andrew Zimmern of Bizarre Foods fame, you might think you’re about to taste something strange. Then again, what do you think wine is? Basically fermented grape juice, right? And it’s also worth noting that there are no odd things in this beverage like, oh I don’t know, Mediterranean bug juice or bull testicle extract. They are basically sodas with fruit flavors, but with a couple of twists. For one, some of the fruits are fermented, giving it a half-sour, on its way to being alcohol flavor; and also there are some flower flavors such as rose and magnolia.

The taste? They are actually really delicious and refreshing. I’m a big fan of flavored, unsweetened seltzer, and since these are not as sweet as soda or even fruit juice infused seltzers, it’s refreshing without coating your mouth with sugar. The brightness of the fermented aspect is nice too without being over the top. My favorites were the Bright Citrus–with flavors of lemongrass, tangerine and pineapple; and the Berry Cassis, with black currant, tangerine and lemon. I wasn’t as crazy about the Ripe Rouge. The cherry and chocolate flavors in that one were nice but were overpowered by the rose flavoring. The same goes for the magnolia in Crisp White, which took over the pear and apricot tastes.

Zimmern offers advice on which flavors go best with which fare–such as Crisp White going well with egg dishes; and Ripe Rouge a nice complement to barbecued ribs. Thankfully, he doesn’t suggest pairing any of them with some of the weird things he eats on the show. So go try CASCAL in confidence if you are intrigued, and I know you are. The stuff is really interesting and for the most part, mighty tasty.

  

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