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Esurientes - The Comfort Zone

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

My favourite soft drink


Almdudler - herbal lemonade from Austria

Well, my favourite soft drink outside Australia, that is. My favourite Aussie soft drink is the superb Bundaberg Ginger Beer, cloudy with fresh ginger residue and a real back-of-the throat ginger heat and a million times better than the usual dross they sell here. The bottles really look like beer bottles, so it can sometimes cause confusion - I remember a friend feeling very queasy one morning (ginger is good for nausea) and drinking a bottle while walking to work, to the shocked stares of passers by!
But, I'm supposed to be writing about Almdudler!

I've always had the name Almdudler in my conscious; I don't know why. Perhaps I heard about it when young and liked the sound of the word. But last year when I found my vocal group would be touring Austria I cried "Yay! We can drink Almdudler!!!". Everyone stared at me with some concern (yes, she has finally gone crazy!). All the way through the tour I kept pointing out to people that it was only X number of days until we could sit back with a nice cold Almdudler...these reviews all based on my extensive knowledge, having never actually tasted an Almdudler before. I knew I'd really suffer the consequences if it turned out to be disgusting.
But it didn't - quite the opposite. We tried it, loved it, and think fondly of it whenever faced with the uninspired collection of Australian softdrinks (afore-mentioned Ginger Beer, and the uniquely Aussie Passiona passionfruit soda aside!).

It says on the can that it is a 'herbal lemonade', which made me giggle, thinking of what most people associate with the words 'herbal'. There really isn't any more information on the cans, but I do know there are two types - a lemonade, and a soda (?) water version in a yellow can. I much prefer the lemonade version; despite being the sweeter option, it is about 10 times less sweet than standard Australian soft-drinks, which would make it about 50 times less sweet than the sickly American sodas I've had in the US!

I really can't explain the flavour, apart from it being 'herbal'. It's refreshing, nicely sweet and just tastes so damn European! I love it ! I'd really like to know more about this drink - how long it's been around in Austria, whether the herbs used are commonly known, and whether it's available all around Europe (we only noticed it in Austria). Does anybody know? (Johanna?)

Just to explain, in case anyone thought I was obsessed enough with this drink to carry back an empty can in my suitcase from Europe to Australia (the answer is...almost!), we've just discovered that we can buy cans of Almdudler at the German smallgoods & bratwurst stand at the Queen Victoria Market here in Melbourne! This was the cause of some major rejoicing here - I'm surprised you couldn't hear it from wherever you're reading. We had been sorely missing the streetside Wurst vendors all around Europe - big, juicy sausages piled with tangy sauerkraut on crusty bread rolls. On our limited budget they provided hot, tasty nourishment for us and left us more time for sightseeing by not having to sit down and wait for an order to arrive! How I wish we had such roadside stands here!! It's now a Friday lunchtime tradition for A. to walk over for a big weisswurst mit Sauerkraut und senf and an Almdudler. Lucky bloke, working so close.
Anyway,
A turned up one evening recently with a grin saying "I've got a present for you" and presented me with the Red Can Of Goodness...to my squeals of delight. This is that very can; don't you just love the outfits on the couple?! Those hats! There's no doubting this is a traditional European specialty. Strangely, the taste of this Almdudler wasn't quite what I remembered and I think they may have suffered for their long journey over the sea to Australia. Either that, or the Austrians are selling inferior quality Almdudler to those unenlightened hicks in the Antipodes! It hasn't stopped us continuing to buy it, but I impore you Almdudler personnel in Australia - please send us your good stuff!

4 Comments:

  • I am austrian living in Australia and grew up on almdudler and wuerstel, respectively leberkaes semmeln in Vienna.
    I always wondered what ginger beer tastet like and found it the only softdrink to ever taste similiar to almdudler. Is there ginger in it? I don't know, cause, like coca cola, the recipe is a secret.
    Cheers
    Ulrike

    By Anonymous Ulrike, at 7/09/2006 04:20:00 pm  

  • I love Almdudler too! I discovered it on a trip to Austria a few years ago, tried to get it when I got back to London, but to no avail. Since then I've moved to Sydney and have found it in an Austrian restaurant in Darlinghurst called Una's. $4 a can and worth every cent.

    Cheers!
    Stephen

    By Blogger Stephen Walker, at 9/16/2007 12:19:00 pm  

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