Rivella: Switzerland’s National Soft Drink

Rivella

I was in Switzerland for the past week visiting the spectacular alpine villages of Sass-Fee, Zermatt, and Leukerbad. You may wonder with all the fine skiing, cultural attractions, and natural beauty, why I would be focusing on a uniquely Swiss drink called Rivella. Well… because I saw signs advertising it seemingly at every turn I made…in the train stations, on the slopes, outside cafes on the menu boards. At first I dismissed it as probably being another soft drink…something sweet and not worth bothering to give a closer look.

But this is Switzerland, where food and drink is made for a reason with exacting standards…not just as a marketing gimmick for pure profit.  Curiosity got the better of me when I learned that Rivella is a concoction of milk serum along with fruit and herbal extracts. Rivella was first introduced in the 1950s and has since become one of the most popular drinks in Switzerland. This is no surprise since dairy products like cheese and milk chocolate are huge here. The key ingredient, milk serum (whey) is a by-product of cheese production. Essentially a liquid, it remains after extraction of the casein (curd). The whey is removed from the serum through a special filtration removing all fats and proteins. The remaining serum used in Rivella is rich in proteins, vitamins and minerals.

Rivella is also considered to be effective in fighting against alcohol addiction and dependency. You can bet that I wanted to try it out and when I did…found that it’s strikingly similar to apple juice both in appearance and taste. Has anybody else tried Rivella?

Photo courtesy of Steve Mirsky

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