Posted by: adventuressetravels | July 20, 2012

Sipping some Artichoke Sodas

I love artichokes.  Pealing the leaves off to dip them in lemon-butter sauce is a treat.  The low, slightly-flat notes mix brilliantly with the bright sharps of lemon juice and plumped by the golden melody of butter.  Artichokes lend their mouth-wateringly delicious baritone to heighten dips, cheeses, and countless other appetizers.  Sour, vinegar compliments the delicious flavor perfectly making marinated artichoke almost better than the steamed alternative.  Marinated artichoke hearts are a classic on pizza, highly prized in salads, tapenades, and just to savor plain out of the jar.

Growing up, artichokes were a special treat that I was sure I loved unconditionally, in any form, dish, or plate imaginable.  As the year passed my affinity for the vegetable waned, I still was a big fan but they weren’t a special longed-for treat.  But when I walked into a grocery store in Saigon, Vietnam all of my feelings rushed back in an instant.

There was a display of boxes of artichoke juice.  My favorite vegetable from childhood was available in juice form!  Moreover it was clearly a popular juice to be on display with orange and mango juice.  I just had to try it!

I poured the tea-colored juice into a glass.  I’m not sure exactly what I expected artichoke juice to look like, but this wasn’t it:  the clear yellowy liquid in the glass could have passed for jasmine tea.  I toke a tentative sip of the liquid.

The insipidly sweet flavor had nothing to do with my beloved vegetable.  Unremarkable in any way other than the overpowering sweetness I couldn’t bring myself to finish the glass.  I looked at the box once more:  yes, brand of juice did claim to be low in sugar.  If this was low in sugar I didn’t want to think of what regular artichoke juice tasted like.  Were artichoke flowers overpoweringly sweet or something?

I’m glad I tried the juice; it was certainly a cultural experience.  The beauty of the world lies in its diversity and it is nice to know what’s out there.  It’s fascinating that artichoke juice is popular in Vietnam, since trying it I have seen the juice on restaurant menus, but some tastes are clearly acquired.

As far as I am concerned though, artichokes are wonderful, juice is great, but if I can avoid ever having artichoke juice again I will.  Some things just never need to be liquefied, as far as I am concerned.

 

As an addendum to this, I have since tried Artichoke tea.  The drink is ubiquitous in Dalat and it seems like every street vendor wants to give you a sample of the stuff.  In the chilly mountain town it is hard to refuse a hot drink and I found myself drinking glass after glass of the stuff.

Unlike the juice, the tea is delicious. Though I am dubious of what it would be like cold, the hint of the artichoke flavor makes a perfect hot tea.  I would make sure not to sweeten it as in my mind sweet and artichoke do not mix, but I wholeheartedly give artichoke tea my seal of approval.

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Responses

  1. How is artichoke tea made?

  2. I’m not entirely sure. Putting the tea bag in hot water?

  3. Interesting about the artichoke juice. Seems it tastes like lots of other commercial fruit and vegetable juices – awful. I’m a huge fan of fresh young coconut juice and I hate the stuff that’s being sold in cans now. Anyway, I’ve just posted on my blog about my favourite vegetable: artichokes. And Marilyn Monroe!


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