Monday, December 8, 2008

Foodie Find of the Week: Lavender Fields Forever

DRY Soda: Lavender

It’s no secret that I am a proponent of all things lavender. The slightly sweet, herbaceous purple flower from Provence has found its way into many of my culinary endeavors, sneaking into shortbread or lemonade, hiding in a marinade, vinaigrette or iced tea, lurking in my mind as an ingredient for a sorbet, blueberry-lavender to be exact…which may reveal itself on this blog soon. It also makes regular appearances in the more traditional sense around my home by way of laundry detergent, lingerie drawer sachets, and my favorite: the aromatherapy/nebulizer contraption I scored from Whole Foods to “induce restful sleep and calm sense of well-being” (verbatim from the essential oil bottle).

It should come also as no surprise then that this week’s Foodie Find is laced in purple. In all honesty, DRY Soda has been around for awhile. I read reviews of it, searched for it tirelessly only to come up empty handed, and held the lucky bunch whom were actually able to get their hands on the prize in contempt for not sharing. For months I had been trying to get a handle on this stuff. Curiosity was killing the cat. It should probably be noted that the soda IS available online and can be shipped practically anywhere—in 12 bottle increments, which is wherein the hesitation lay. 12 bottles?! What if I didn’t like it? What if it was too sweet? What if…what if…what if?! What if I would have just ordered it when I first heard of its sweet existence? I could have been enjoying it all this time, instead of projecting gloom and disappointment onto something I had yet to try and had only heard good things of. Sometimes I have to wonder about myself, honestly.

Anyway...just Monday, in my favorite gourmet grocery (mainly because there’s free gourmet coffee to be had and classical music playing at all times, which makes me feel like I’m on one of those PBS cooking shows, shopping for whatever meal I’m about to prepare for you) there it was…all four flavors, or was it five…never the matter, I was only after the one: LAVENDER. Lavender soda, you say? Lavender soda, I say. I can imagine this stuff pouring out all of the fountains in heaven because it’s that good, and I had mine at room temperature, which is another little known, weirdo fact about me. I drink hot soda, for no good reason, and enjoy it as I did that day--partly because it wasn’t pre-chilled, and partly because I was anxious to get into it after months of waiting, and couldn’t be bothered to get a simple glass of ice. I guess it basically boils down to 1.) I’m spoiled, 2.) impatient and 3.) lazy. It's amazing the things a simple soda trip will teach you about yourself, isn't it? But enough about me, let's get back to the soda...

In addition to being deliciously refreshing with its crisp effervescent bubbles and it’s subtly sweet lavender finish, the bottle is simple and beautiful, which we have already established as a high-ranking factor for a majority of my purchases. As you know, I'm all about aesthetics. Its crystal clear minimalistic design gives nod to what lie inside: A sophisticated, slightly sweet, lightly flavored herbal soda with no artificial colors or flavors, that you have to try to believe. It’s like the ingestible equivalent of an early spring rain, a Vivaldi composition, or Monet’s Water Lilies. Drinkable elegance, an e-tonic, if you will.

Aside from the inherent calm-inducing properties of lavender, the soda also, quite frankly, just makes you feel pretty just by drinking it, or hell, even holding it. It’s like a spa trip for your insides. I’d like to believe I could replace the once-in-awhile Raw Food Cleanse torture I inflict upon myself with a couple bottles of this soda and all my wrong-doing will be magically erased. It sure feels like it could—all the little sparkling lavender bubbles scrubbing dutifully away at my dietary indiscretions, allowing me to exude a more youthful glow, without having to succumb to a full body exfoliation and/or 30 minutes in the sauna. Here’s hoping. (I should warn you: the package, nor the company makes any such claim…this is just my own wishful, delusional daydreaming.)

What the company does do though, may be even better—at least in my eyes. They use recyclable bottles and as many local sustainable ingredients as they can to produce the sodas, and practice “green” back-office policies (keeping printing to a minimum, recycling paper, re-using boxes, etc). They are in the process of developing a micro-lending program to help women entrepreneurs get their businesses going, and support as many local charities as they can. Cutting back and giving back, as Martha would say: they’re "good things".

So, where can you get your hands on the DRY goods? Well, your best bet will be a natural foods store or a high-end gourmet grocer. You may also have luck at a local wine or specialty beverage merchant. If you are having trouble locating it, you can always go to the DRY website and order a 12pk(available as a sampler pack or in single flavors), as I wish I had months ago. You know the old saying…If I’dve only known then what I know now…

As an added bonus: If you are ever in the Seattle area you can visit The Tasting Room, which is DRY’s version of modern day soda fountain. It’s modeled after a traditional winery tasting room and offers samples (in biodegradable cups) of all their flavors. You can purchase your favorites as singles, 4-packs, and 12pks, as well as t-shirts (also available on the website), onesies (for divas in training) and gift baskets (to lure your friends and family into the DRY soda addiction) from their Company Store. For more information on hours, location, event planning, and driving directions to both, visit the DRY website.

Another useful tidbit: the website has mixology chart that suggests appropriate mixers for the sodas and even provides recipes for a few cocktails. My lavender soda coincedentally goes excellent with gin. Gin?, you say. Gin, I say, nodding in smug approval. Super Score :-)


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