Soda: 'Pompelmo' and 'Aranciata Rossa' from San Pellegrino


[Photo: Robyn Lee]

Part of what makes Italian food and drink so compelling is the language. Cannoli. Bolognese. Cappuccino. They're beautiful words that roll off the tongue in a most mellifluous manner. German food may be tasty, but you've still got to say "Pfannkuchen" or "grunkohl".

Something we've always liked about Aranciata and Limonata, the two most well-known sodas from San Pellegrino—besides those names—are how they're not all that sugary. The thing about real citrus is that it balances sweet and tart, but you'd never know that from drinking the average lemon-lime soda. The Pellegrino sodas actually reflect the flavors of the fruits they come from. A pretty novel idea in soda-land. (Plus, we can imagine Jerry Seinfeld saying, "People like to say 'ar-an-CHA-TA'.")

The grapefruit-flavored Pompelmo was Carey's favorite. (Why aren't there more grapefruit sodas in general?) Grapefruit's bitterness is part of its appeal, but this soda actually isn't as bitter as even the limonata; it reminds us of a perfectly ripe grapefruit, without that acerbic bite, totally refreshing. We're already imagining this as a great mixer—just vodka, if you're looking for a brunch drink a little more interesting than a mimosa. But maybe a smooth tequila, with a touch of jalapeño? The possibilities seem endless.

Aranciata Rossa struck as as slightly more of an American-style soda—sweeter, with a fuller body—when compared to the crisp, slightly bitter Pompelmo. Is the flavor really discernible as blood orange? Only in that it's a little less tart and more intensely flavored than their standard Aranciata. But it's refreshing in a way we'd describe as juicy, mouthwatering and easy to drink. American kids will prefer this one over the Pompelmo—and maybe even over the Aranciata and Limonata, too.

But good luck getting the kids to ask for an ar-an-CHAH-tah ROSS-ah.