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(Bonus) Foreign Grocery Friday: Champ's Cola of the Caribbean

April 26, 2013 at 2:53 PM | by | ()

When we travel, one of our favorite things to do is to pop into a local grocery store and check out the food products and candies we'd never find anywhere else. So we're trying out this new feature, Foreign Grocery Friday, where each week we'll feature some of our (and your) favorite overseas treats. Got a recommendation? Let us know!

When most people think of Caribbean specialties, it's rum, conch, stews, johnnycakes, jerk chicken, or even banana ketchup which comes to mind, but when we visited the U.S. Virgin Islands recently we noticed another culinary trend—an abundance of fruity soft drinks.

Whether you call it soda or pop, in the USVI it comes it every imaginable shape, color, and flavor. In St. Croix we sampled a fizzy Pineapple drink and a Coconut soda, but the most memorable by far was Champ's Cola.

Champ's is a product of the Cawy Bottling Co. which was established in Cuba in 1948 and was the country's best selling soft drink. After the communist takeover in 1959, the company was seized and its founders moved to Miami, where they're still based today.

As one of the Caribbean's first homegrown soda companies, Cawy Lemon-Lime, Cawy Watermelon, Quinabeer, and of course Champ's Cola, are still popular throughout the region and can be found in most grocery stores.

Never having had Champ's Cola, we expected something similiar to Coke or Pepsi but instead our first sips of Champ's delivered a light, fruity flavor, nothing at all like the colas we are used to. Soda connoisseurs call it a "Champagne Cola," but don't let the title throw you; it still kinda tastes like cough syrup.

Since it is bottled in Miami, Champ's Cola can be found stores around Florida, too. If you can't find it in your neighborhood, you can order it (by the case) at www.cawy.net.

[Photo: cmb for Jaunted]

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