Friday, March 11, 2011

365: Cherry Vanilla Creme Soda

I admit that I tend to not go too far off the mainstream, well-beaten path for soda that I drink in my normal day to day life. This is mostly because, apart from review purposes, I just don't drink much soda to start with -- and when I do, I have two staples that I prefer not to stray from.

That said, I occasionally like a little variety tossed in. And when I can actually get to a Whole Foods, I really like this particular soda.

365 is Whole Foods' house brand, and they make pretty much everything you can think of. I first tried the Cherry Vanilla Creme because I was hoping that it would taste like the Hansen's Cherry Vanilla Creme soda. There are very few companies out there that are on my banned list and sadly, Hansen's is one of them. But I will be honest here: I really liked and still miss drinking their Cherry Vanilla Creme. I realize that Whole Foods does not actually produce the soda themselves, and that Hansen's very well could be making this product for them under contract, but really...there is only so far I can go, and dammit, I want my freaking soda!

Okay, before I start to sound too much like Charlie Sheen, how did the soda actually taste?

Really good, actually! The balance is heavy on the cherry side, with the vanilla rounding out the aftertaste. The cherry tastes sort of like a cross between maraschino cherries and a Luden's cough drop -- but the vanilla keeps it from picking up that medicinal aftertaste that cherry flavored items lean towards.

The vanilla really is more of an aftertaste then a full partner. But I think that works well in this case. I am a fan of cream (or "creme") soda in general, so it is kind of hard for vanilla to go wrong for me. I wouldn't mind if the vanilla were stronger, but it is so good that I am happy with it just as is.

The carbonation is on the low side. But we all know I prefer my soda gently bubbly (which sounds prettier than saying "flat"), so again, this is a selling point for me.

And the extra cherry on top of everything else is that the drink is sweetened with real cane sugar! Yes, this does push it into the realm of full-calorie soda (I am a diet soda drinker as a rule) but if you are going to go with full-calorie soda, real sugar is the way! It manages to be sweet but not too sweet -- and because it's real sugar, there is no cloying HFCS aftertaste.

I love this soda. I even like the spare look of the can. It's plain and clean, it's not flashy, and it doesn't need to be because the insides are so good!

One of my favorite soda treats. If there's a Whole Foods near you, do not miss this one.

Whole Foods

$2.99 a six pack

180 calories per can (12 fluid ounces)

Sodium free, caffeine free, preservative free, real cane sugar!


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