Monday, July 17, 2006

"I am not a Frenchie, I'm a BELGIE!"

That is something that should be extremely obvious with my latest entry. It is Belgian and, like all other things Belgian (like chocolate and pommes frite) it is really too good. During my last foray to Jungle Jim's (on the way back from our Outer Banks vacation) one of the things which I acquired was a Coca~Cola from Belgium, imported by Empire International of Ontario, California. Let me state for the record, if any Coke execs are reading this...Belgian Coke should be the rule for formulation of Coca~Cola. This small bottle of elixir vitae should be the silver standard for all Cokes (not gold, because there just might be a better one out there somewhere). The ingredients are simple. Carbonated water, sugar, caramel colour, phosphoric acid, Coke syrup and caffeine. Even their website is better than the American one. Sheesh!

None of that nasty, unfulfilling HFCS in this 0.2L bottle and I can live with that. While the small size is a personal drawback for me I could get over that if the people in Atlanta would get rid of the HFCS that makes Coca~Cola such a lifeless beverage in comparison to premium beverages on the market, Coke is not a premium beverage and they are missing out on this market niche.

The Belgian variant of Coca~Cola is great. This small bottle needed an opener to get at the contents and it was worth the miniscule extra effort. A beautiful cola scent wafted up out of the bottle letting me know what was in store for me, something missing from US Cokes nowadays. Upon pouring this I was greeted with an effervescent and lively head that let me know that there was a nicely carbonated beverage in the glass. It was crisp and clean.

This product tastes like Coke used to taste before the advent of HFCS into every nook and cranny of the line. Not overly sweet or syrupy, Belgian Coke is actually refreshing, which is something missing from its US made counterpart. The taste is crisp and clean with only a Cola aftertaste, not the often cloying sweet aftertaste of the American product. I really liked this version of Coca-Cola better than the over marketed US brands.

Now for the pitch. If any Coke Execs ever read this I have a pitch for you. Produce a "Coca~Cola Premium". One which uses Cane Sugar and all natural ingredients, organic even. Set a slightly higher price for it than your everyday Coke and we, the fans will come. We will buy a Coca~Cola that tastes like it SHOULD taste. Please, steal my idea! I'm giving it to ya! Produce Belgian Coke in the USA. If you craft it they will come!

Carbonated Water
Caramel Colour
Phosphoric Acid
Vegetable Extracts

Coca~Cola Belgian gets an 8.5/10!

Note: The printed ingredients label from Empire International is inacurate as to the ingredients. There is no citric acid or anti-oxidant in this beverage.

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