When I was a kid living in the forsaken wasteland that is Saudi Arabia, my father’s company would pay for one trip back to France each year. One treat my parents would give us on those trips back home, my brother and I, would be to take us to a café and get us each one of those old-fashioned teardrop-shaped bottles of Orangina. To this day, I still associate it with the taste of home.

At one point ten years ago, the owners of Orangina had agreed to sell it to Coca-Cola. This naturally raised an uproar and the deal was axed on antitrust grounds. Unfortunately, the brand has not been very well managed or marketed since and has lost much of its market share in France.

The chief quality of Orangina is that it is made with 14% fruit, unlike the synthetic garbage Coca-Cola or Pepsi sell, e.g. Fanta. It is interesting to note that in Italy, all fruit sodas are required by law to have at least 12.5% fruit content, so even Fanta is actually drinkable there.

One Italian resident who was a fan of Orangina is Mgr Ratzinger, now known as Pope Benedict XVI. At the end of his day’s work, prior to being elevated as Pope, he used to walk back home, stopping for the odd photo pose at the request of passing tourists, return to his apartment, enjoy a glass of Orangina and play Mozart on the piano for half an hour.