Rivella feels like the national drink of Switzerland, and it seemed like a good starting point for us - it is a milk based soft drink, if you can imagine that, and seems perfectly at home in amongst the grazing bovines. Basically unchanged since its introduction in 1952, it is made from cow's milk whey, herbs, lactose (dairy sugar), carbonated water and some fruit extractions. It is basically clear and the label points out that it's made from pasteurized milk. Signs all over switzerland advertise the stuff; the logo adorns awnings and menuboards like Coca Cola or Budweiser does in America.
The original drink is sold in a bottle with a red and white label. Rivella light is sold with a blue label (pictured above). There's also "Rivella verte," or green tea rivella, in green. Apparently, there's also a yellow version, made with soy products instead of dairy. We haven't seen any yellow bottles yet, but we're looking out for them.
We are divided on the issue of taste. Rebecca hates it, I like it. We both agree that the green-tea flavor is the most easily approachable. Also, that the original is better than the low calorie version. Rebecca says that it tastes like sour cream soda (that can be interpreted two ways) or like a too-seltzery egg cream. I think it has a little bit more of a nuanced flavor. It's nicely unsweet and tastes grassy - the overriding flavor is more like burnt milk than sour milk, I guess.
I just read that Rivella tried to introduce the drink in America in 2004 but had little success. Also, Holland accounts for about ninety percent of the export market, which is interesting.
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