Blood oranges are, of course, awesome. I mean, c’mon – it’s an orange with crimson pulp and the word “blood” in its name. It’s like the Xtreme version of your everyday, buttoned down breakfast orange. Who wouldn’t want a soda made from it?
The main thing that bothers me about this product though, is the nomenclature. Are they proclaiming that it’s an Italian Soda with Blood Orange flavoring, or a normal soda that tastes like blood oranges from Italy? That might seem like quibbling, but the distinction matters.
An Italian Soda (sparkling water mixed with syrup) is quite different from a can of Fanta. On the other hand, if the marketers are actually calling out which strain of blood orange they’re using that is a much more subtle distinction – Italy is famous for it’s blood oranges, namely the Toccara, but there are also popular, and sweeter, Spanish and American varieties.
With the images of rolling, Tuscan-esque orchards on the label, it seemed most likely that Trader Joes just wanted to get the word “Italian” up front as soon as possible to entice simple-minded buyers who equate the word with Mediterranean luxury (like me).
Unfortunately, Italian Blood Orange Soda let me down. Not because there is anything wrong with it. It’s a quite tasty and slightly bitter, orange flavored soda. It has the calories of a regular soda, the effervescent fizz of a regular soda and, basically, the taste of a regular soda. Although the label proves it is, in fact, sparkling water mixed with blood orange extract, in the end it’s just another soda.
This is a perfectly safe purchasing option for people who want to try something only a little bit different, or as a light warm-up for more adventurous consumption to follow.
On a final note: I was initially pleased by the very blood-orangey look of the soda, but later dismayed when I saw the color was brought on through the use of coloring agents, then finally pleased again when those coloring agents turned out to be derived from the sinister sounding “black carrot.” Not necessarily ideal, but certainly much cooler than resorting to red dye #6.
Would I recommend it? If I was bored.
Would I buy it again? Not any time soon.
Final Synopsis: In the end, just another soda.