The “Suau”, a singular drink in a global, uniform world

suauGlobalization has its advantages but it leads necessarily to a certain uniformity. Wherever we go we find the same fashion brands, the same pasta, shawarma, tapas or sushi dishes. There are still differences as far as wines, cheeses or charcuterie is concerned but it’s hard to find something new in refreshing drinks (except local beers in central Europe).

It’s hard but not impossible! In river Ebre country, in the south of Catalonia, and more precisely, inBenissanet, Móra d’Ebre and Móra la nova, I recently “discovered” the “Suau Quim”, a drink made out of coffee, sparkling water, sugar, and something else that gives it a very characteristic flavour. This beverage used to be quite common in Catalonia 100-30 years ago, and many aged people still can remember it. But it has been unavailable for some decades. Although in catalan “Suau” means “soft”, it seems that the name of the beverage is related to “Zouve”, the french infantry soldiers recruited originally between members of a berber tribe in “Zwawa”, Argelie. Some of you will remember apicture from Van Gogh.

The drink is a nice surprise, it refreshes and stimulates. It’s a new combination of older elements: first you have the familiar sensation of sweet sparkling water flowing over your tongue and gorge, and just after that comes a coffee flavour and something else (perhaps vanille? Cinnamon?). So, it’s something newer and more original than the cokes we are used to, but at the same time it evokes something more basic and traditional. The siteIlercavonia about Ebre country mentions the beverage factory of Juan Solé (“Saurí”) that operated in Móra d’Ebre from 1890 to 1983, producing the “sparkling sirop Zuavo” among other refreshing drinks and liquors. Today Joaquin Cots in Benissanet has reintroduced this new-old drink. The “Suau” distribution it’s still very limited, it is very hard to find in cities other than the few mentioned above. There are many reasons to visit Ribera d’Ebre .  Tasting the “Suau” is one more.

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