Orangina, France’s favourite soft drink

Food & drink
Orangina, France’s answer to Coke

What is it?

Orangina is an orange juice based soft drink that’s massive in France and other European countries.

It comes in a funny shaped bottle and needs to be shaken up before serving.  “Shake the bottle, release the flavour”, as the advert goes.

Every day, million of French waiters half-heartedly shake Orangina bottles with a look on their faces that screams “you do know that all this shaking the bottle business is complete bollocks, don’t you?”

What does it taste like?
It’s quite good, actually – a  lightly carbonated orange drink with hints of lemon and grapefruit.  Two percent by volume is made up of fruit pulp, so it’s easy to kid yourself that it’s good for you.

What’s the story with the bottles?
Orangina comes in bulbous, pear shaped bottles that have a rough texture that’s supposed to be reminiscent of orange peel, although this is perhaps stretching the concept a little.  The shape of the bottle is instantly recognisable.

The current French advertising campaign involves anthropomorphic animals (deer, crocodiles, etc) in swimsuits, posing on Orangina bottles.  It’s all quite strange, sinister even, and I have no idea whatsoever what it’s all about.

It’s all very French, isn’t it?
Absolutely. The French love it, and it’s the closest thing  they’ve got to an iconic soft drink, even though it was invented by a Spaniard.

Does it travel well?
No.  Orangina is best enjoyed in France, or on the continent, at the very least.  It tastes different anywhere else (well, actually, it doesn’t, it tastes exactly the same, but the context is all wrong and the mood  isn’t there, and it’s probably raining outside and, well, you get the picture. Some things are cultural as well as gastronomic).

Orangina, it comes in a funny bottle

Note: Jenny, pictured above modelling an Orangina bottle, is wearing a top from this season’s collection at American Apparel, and has a new plan for managing French border crossing points on the English Channel.  She considers French people to be emminently more stylish than their Anglo cousins, and suggests that they need protecting from the worst of the British nation’s fashion crimes.  Jenny proposes setting up a new check at all ports for basic fashion mistakes made by inbound passengers – sportswear, men’s three quarter length cargo shorts, white socks, sandals worn with socks, any kind of electronic device clipped to a belt, etc.

Any transgressors would be returned to the ferry to either a) change or b) return to Britain where they can’t hurt anybody.

Taking action, Jenny insists, would be in everybody’s best interests.