Before we moved to Tel Aviv, the appliance I had the most angst about parting with was our SodaStream. The SodaStream remains my favorite and most utilized kitchen appliance ever. Yes it only did one thing (carbonate water), but it did it flawlessly, and it was a vital task in my life. I like to drink soda water plain, I like to drink it with bitters or lemon when I’m feeling bourgie, and I use it to make my alcoholic beverage of choice: the red wine spritzer (to be more exact: I mix it with box wine from Trader Joe’s. It is cheap, delicious, and hydrating!). We had limited luggage space for our move (why did I bring so many sweaters?), and I seriously considered bringing the SodaStream with us. There was no way this was going to work, so we ended up giving it to our friend Peter (Peter, if you are reading this, I hope you use that beguiling appliance every day and treat it in the exalted manner it is accustomed to).
Based on the fact that the SodaStream is actually locally made, we assumed soda water would be a part of the vernacular beverage culture. I also assumed that since Israel has a lot of European influences (and residents), soda water would be as plentiful as it is in many European countries. Maybe I’m just not going to the appropriate markets (I’ve tried probably 6 in a 4 block radius. Yes, we have a lot of markets near our apartment), but so far my soda water font has run dry.
At first, I actually thought we had moved to the land of inexhaustible flavored soda water. I was thrilled. The non-alcoholic beverage aisles are packed. Unfortunately, they are not packed with carbonated water. There are quite a few options of flavored flat water (have not explored this genre; not interested. Though I am semi-curious about the prevalence of the aloe flavored water). There are also quite a few options of beverages that I thought were flavored soda water, but turned out to be soda. Initially thinking these were flavored soda waters made the disappointment upon realizing they were soda all the more potent. Particularly when I went to the Schweppe’s website to try to figure out what the flavors like “Russchian” and “Riesling” were and discovered that Russchian (which looks like a watered down red wine spritzer) was berry/hibiscus/carrot flavored. And comes in a winking can:
This seemed like my ideal drink. Carbonated, weird flavor combination, comes in a probably culturally insensitive can, and (I assumed) just sweet, sweet carbonated water. Alas, this was not to be. All of the flavored Schweppe’s here is just soda. Sugar is the first ingredient, followed by a litany of chemically sounding terms that I didn’t even read since I stopped at sugar. So far, I have found one brand of soda water, but I can only find it about 50% of the time at two of the six markets near our apartment. Here is the English label side of what I will be drinking non stop, when I can find it:
Note that it is half full, because I have started rationing soda water. I am taking solace in the fact that it’s a great brand name at least. It sounds like the bubbles are keeping time.
LaCroix, if you would like to expand internationally beyond Canada and the US, please, please consider Tel Aviv as a first option.