Once a year, at least in the US, Coca-Cola bottles a version of its classic soda with sucrose instead of high fructose corn syrup. And it's a time-honored tradition for Coke-fanatics (both Jewish and non) to snatch up every bottle of the Kosher-For-Passover version to last through the year.
Passover starts Wednesday at sundown, and for eight days Jews abstain from eating wheat, legumes, corn and anything else that might be construed as leavening. Apparently, the religious Jews hold a sufficient share of the soda market, because Coke, Pepsi and Canada Dry all make version of their beverages without HFCS. But no soda drinker is quite as fanatical as the Coke drinker.
Last week, while most Jews started their holiday shopping, I began a quest to buy some Kosher-for-Passover Coke. I'm not much of a soda drinker (for both caloric and HFCS reasons), but was nonetheless curious to see if I could taste the difference between the two versions. At the kosher market, crates of soda lined the front wall. One and two liter bottles and 12 ounce cans of every variety and style. Except Coke -- only the 2-liter bottles remainded. When I inquired if there were more of the smaller sizes in back, I was told no, but there was still plenty of Pepsi -- proving the point that Coke breeds a higher degree of loyalty.
The verdict: The sucrose Coke seemed lighter and a bit cleaner in taste. The HFCS coke had the same degree of sweetness but it seemed to assault my taste-buds. The differences were subtle but perceptable. Perhaps, if I drank soda (and Coke specifically) on a more regular basis, the difference would be more stark.
Have you bought sucrose sweetened soda before? Can you taste the difference?
My family arrives on Wednesday for the first seder -- including my mom and aunt who grew up drinking Coke. I'll save a bottle for them to see if they can taste the difference.