A taste that took me back

Maybe I have been living too long without sugar in my life. That is not a lyric from a 70s disco anthem, but perhaps it should be.

I’ve been livin, livin too long a time
Without that sweet taste that’s more bitter than wine
It’s as light as your face, it’s as strong as your smile
It’s a drink in my fridge that I’ve had for a while

Maybe not.

I have been so good at living without sugar for such a long time that I gave in to an impulsive purchase yesterday and bought a small bottle of Citron Presse. It was a brown bottle, light the ones Plae Ale use to come in, with a label that was designed to give the impression that each bottle has been hand forged by special lemon craftsmen. Actually, given that the produce was made locally in Margaret River, which is lousy with artisan cottage industries, that may well be the case.

When I was a kid, my favourite drink was the mystical Orangina. It was French, only available when we were on holiday – if that year’s holiday was in France – and was the taste of sophistication and summer. The short bottle had a narrow neck which led to a bulbous body, so it was not unlike drinking out of a slightly elongated light bulb. The glass was textured with tiny raised bubbles, so it felt rough and smooth at the same time in your hand. The drink was sweet, but not overly sickly and it had the faintest hint of fizz – not bubbles, just a tiny tickle on the tongue as you drank it. What I had in the brown bottle that I picked off the shelf on Sunday, was the lemon equivalent of that.

There was a lot of orange when I was growing up – it was the 70s after all. Carpets were orange, kitchens were too, somehow. Space hoppers were for real and not some nostalgic revival. Bathrooms came in colours like ‘Avocado’ – ours was bright yellow. I remember my mum making curtains that were white with large orange flowers for the living room.

All this I thought about as I took a sip of my forbidden drink. It was like drinking a memory, even though I never had Citron Presse as a kid – that would have been far too exotic. So even though it contained some of the forbidden white stuff, I allowed myself this small luxury over the weekend, and I am glad that I did.



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