This perfect utopian summer of endless azure forms the basis to my happiest childhood memories. The kind of memories I hope my own children will look back upon some day.
So far, the sun has been a little slow in arriving; grey is the new blue it seems. The Lily Bug asks each morning, "is it summer yet mum?" And as much as I nodd and smile and claim that it is indeed summer, she doesn't quite believe me.
When a courier van arrived shortly before Christmas, bearing three cartons of Just Juice to review, I felt a little as if Santa had just swung by bearing the gift of the Great Kiwi Summer. In liquid form.
Summer Strawberry & Kiwifruit
Sun Kissed Orange
Farm Style Apple
These were the three flavours sent out for us to review, along with the guarantee of no added sugar, preservatives, artificial flavours or colour, and 100% of our recommended daily vitamin C requirements in a single glass. I gotta admit, I skimmed these details when I first glanced over the media release, and allowed my sun-starved brain to pause on words such as "awaken" and "summer".
The munchkins eyes lit when they saw the treasures I had stashed in the fridge. Fruit juice - that's a little like nectar from the Gods as far as they're concerned. I was torn between wanting to rip into them there and then, and wanting to savour them - or at least give them time to chill in the fridge. Fifteen minutes chill time. That was the agreement my two inner selves came to. Summer was a-calling...
We started with Sun Kissed Orange. Not too much now kiddos, just a taste... Okay, that's good. It tastes like orange - as it should. Nice & refreshing. Not too sweet, not too face-scrunchy. Add some vodka for the adults, and you've got sunshine in a bottle right there.
Let's just have another taste and then back in the fridge it goes - this one is coming with us on our picnic.
"We're having a picnic?" asks the Lily Bug, her face all alight in excitement. Damn. Did I say that out loud? I look outside at the bleak grey sky with it's threat of rain etched upon the darkening horizon. Well...
Childhood memories resurface. Sitting on the swings at the local park with single-serve juice cartons. Ever-so-slightly piercing the straw-holes, discarding the straw and slowly sipping the juice through the tiny gap. Savouring the very last drop. Is it the perfect weather I remember most about my childhood? Or the moments shared?
"We are now."
Thanks for the picnic inspiration Just Juice :)
Farm Style Apple accompanied us a few days later on a trip to the park. I didn't expect to like it all that much - I'm not usually a fan of apple juice. Surprisingly, I liked it. Refreshing. Delicious. After a hot afternoon chasing children, it was so so very easy to keep almost exclusively to myself (the Lily Bug did force me to share, but only when she was within vicinity of my attempts to drink it all sneaky-like).
Strawberry & Kiwifruit was the least favourite amid our family. It tasted artificial. The kids handed me theirs and asked for that yummy orange again. The Lad winced and said it tasted like lolly water. Actually, there was once a time when I had some jelly lollies in a cup, and while in the midst of making a coffee, I poured hot water into the lolly cup. I had a sip. It tasted quite like this. Left for me to finish off, I thought this flavour might be an okay base to a fruit smoothie. Never got around to carrying out that theory though - I gluttoned it too quickly, despite my reservations.Greedy glutton that I am.
As Meatloaf once said, "two out of three aint bad" and that pretty much sums up our experience with Just Juice's new flavours. Do I recommend these for your next sunny picnic at the park or BBQ on the beach or to wash down a dry throat after a backyard ball game?
Yes. And no. Depending on your budget. At $3.99 for a one litre, it's just not realistic for our household of 5 on a making-ends-meet kind of income. But hey, if that's not an issue for you then yes - absolutely.
Visualise sweltering hot days - cool ocean breeze - swing ball - a tall refreshing glass of semi-frozen Just Juice - and some sunshine... That's the Great Kiwi Summer in a nutshell, right?
Edited to add: The Lad pointed out tonight that what the juice market really really needs is a decent grapefruit juice. And none of that Pink Grapefruit nonsense. Real grapefruit juice. The kind that makes your face pucker. Hell yes. Now that would make the top of our Summer Must Have list.