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Of course, water is the best fluid, but for people like me who don't find water interesting, fruit juices and fruit juice drinks can help maintain my daily allowance and help keep me hydrated. Fruit juices can be drunk as a part of our 8 glasses of daily fluids and can be used as a portion of our "5-a-day" fruits and vegetables. Do beware that some juices (and juice drinks) contain too much sugar - they may be very high in calories, or, similarly, not suitable for diabetic people. Please spend a minute or two and read the nutritional information on the packaging before buying if you need to reduce sugar intake.
Many of us have heard about the Suncrest Company and their specialty (which is tropical and exotic drinks). However, what do you know about this exotic kind of drink? Do you really know much? Few people understand about these drinks, or especially about the fruits from which they are made; particularly when they are quite new to the UK. To review this product, I am asking, "So what is it that is different about this drink? What is this fruit of which is it made? Does it appear to be worth giving it a try? Is there any other use of it rather than just drinking it?"
All will be revealed soon; hopefully I can give you as much information as I can to assist your consumer choice, depending on your personal choices and preferences.
Basic Information about the Lychee (What are we drinking?)
Before reviewing the drink, I believe we should first be introduced to the main ingredient: the Lychee. Where does it come from? What about the appearance and the taste of the fruit?
I first saw this fruit in an oriental food shop. I liked it instantly - maybe because of the colour or the shape. I picked up one and smelled it, as I like to use my sense of smell in picking up things not only food! And when I tried it, I said, "yes!" to it. It can be found fresh, or peeled and frozen, or even in tins (you will discover the taste is a lot different from the fresh fruit to tinned in syrup).
Lychee, also known as Litchi, originally came from China. It is a woody tree, about 18-20m in height; it was, and still is, an important part of Chinese culture and diet. It was THE FRUIT for romance and passion due to the shape, colour and smell of the fruit. It used to be eaten for religious and health reasons, and is also known as the king fruit. It remained for years as only Chinese fruits but someone managed to grow it in so many countries over the world: it became very popular in Asia and the Far East but still the Chinese fruit has its unique taste and smell. A little expensive, like many exotic fruits, it is still well worth purchasing. The Lychee is very rich in vitamin C, good for defeating colds as well.
== The Appearance and Taste of the Fruit ==
The shape and colour varies depending on the origin but mainly it is a small oval shaped, brightly dark pink to red with a thin crisp slightly rough surface that will break off and the fragrance itself is sweet enough to eat - a bit like a rosy smell - very irresistible. The flesh is transparent and layered, the texture is jelly-like or a little rubbery, yet very juicy layers. It's a very sweet and delicate fruit; there is one single seed, shiny, brown-black coloured like a bean-size in the middle of the fruit, from which the layered fruit is peeled.
The Suncrest Company
22 years ago, back in 1985, this company was started through the passion of a man who loved traveling and trying exotic and tropical fruits. He wanted to import these new flavours into the UK and make a change to people's tastes. He wanted to encourage them to look out for new varieties of fruits instead of just apples, oranges and pears.
It was quite a challenge in the 80's for people to start to open up to new challenges and recipes. The first product launched by Suncrest was a non-sparkling Passion fruit juice drink. This was the first of its kind in the UK! That was just the beginning. People liked the flavour, the new colour and different taste to the normal juices they were used to. At the end, it was a success and the beginning of the new era, the era of exotic juices. The business has grown and now, with over 45 varieties of drink, Suncrest is really dominating the market with unique and outstanding mixtures of tropical and exotic fruits. They are not all just juice: there are fruit energy drinks, lassi yogurt drinks, pure fruit drinks and fruity milk shakes for the little ones and for grownups too.
And now, here is the moment you were awaiting - the description of the product itself.
Suncrest Lychee Juice Drink
The carton is very brightly coloured with Lychee fruits on the front, looks very appealing and encouraging, with the ingredients and nutritional information on the sides. The Lychee juice is diluted with water and has added sugar.
Once I opened the carton, the smell is deliciously sweet; I felt that all my senses had been awakened. I have never smelled any fruit like it apart from guavas, which I also find a very interesting fruit (and Suncrest have its juice in their range, as well). To describe the smell is a little hard but trying my best it can be described as sweet, very delicate, rose fragrance; if you have ever tried rose water, you will find it fairly similar without the bitterness at the end. The smell instantly gives you an uplifting feeling. I'm not exaggerating here, it's true! That's why Chinese people prefer this fruit as it is: it has the power to cheer you up and to give you happy feelings! So now you know when and where to use this fruit juice!
The colour and thickness of the juice: pouring it into a glass ready to taste. The colour is murky, cloudy or chalky white. It looks like fresh coconut milk, or much diluted milk with water - very light, and has no body little or thickness. It is a sort of watery kind of juice. Personally I didn't like the colour; it's too bland and is basically translucent but it does look natural because it's the colour of the flesh: almost transparent.
The taste is equally as good as the smell; you know you can taste the fragrance as well? Very tasty and pleasantly sweet with a hint of sour; for some it might be a little too sweet. This juice is very refreshing and indulging. It can satisfy your taste buds and refresh you from the first sip, guaranteed, and I'm sure you will ask for more. It's a good alternative to fizzy drinks. In fact, it is a better switch to a healthier option in hot summer (if we have any!). Served with some ice, and fresh pieces of the same fruit, it can be heavenly tasty. As for me, I like it straight from the freezer, iced: summer or winter, it makes no difference to me!There is no bitter aftertaste; it does not give me a sore throat as I sometimes get with orange; nor is there any funny aftertaste; it's all pleasant till the end.
Uses of the Juice
It sounds like a silly thing to say, "what can you use the juice for, apart from drinking it straight from the carton?" Well, yes, there are so many uses of this juice: it can be used for little children with low appetite. This fruit is good to stimulate the appetite. Giving your child half a glass daily can do the trick naturally without the need to use medication. Also it's full of vitamin C, sulphur and many essential vitamins which play an important part in children's immune system and growth. Not only for children, it's also good for grownups. After a big meal, it helps to digest food fast and easy. Daily recommendation: One 330 ml glass is enough for one portion of fruit (from your 5-a-day); try to include some other fruits and vegetables as well.
Need to know more?
It can be used in cocktails mix and punches, both alcoholic and non-alcoholic, giving your mixture a pleasant distinguished taste.
It can be used to make a home made jelly, just add a gelatin sachet (you can find a vegetarian gelatin as well) to the mixture and leave it to set. Again, this is good for both kids and adults.
It can be poured over a fruit salad instead of orange juice; in this way it can preserve the fruit, and flavour it as well.
Until now, I have not heard of any sensitivity or allergy from this product whatsoever. This is good news for a lot of people who suffer from allergies towards different kinds of exotic fruit.
Availability and Price
I have only seen this in the supermarket shelves in a 1 litre sized carton (equal to 4 x 250 ml glass servings) but I have bought it in an individual 330 ml size from some local shops which specialise in Asian foods/spices and "ethnic" tastes.
The price is on the expensive side: £1.49, £1.74 per litre. Where I live, it costs £1.99 at the corner shop!
I haven't seen it on any special offer or promotion at all, so this is a negative point for the Suncrest juice.
My final thoughts
This juice is exotic, refreshing and a break from the norm. Quite expensive comparing it to more usual brands and flavours? Yes, but I think it's fairly priced. If you wanted to make it at home you would need about 2lb of peeled fresh fruit to make one 200 ml glass of juice, which could cost around £3.00 - quite expensive and time consuming - so I recommend that you stick to the ready-made one!
The only downside of this juice by Suncrest is that l think there is too much water and sugar added; I wish that they used less sugar or no sugar at all. This fruit is naturally sweet and watery. By adding extra sweetness it has become too sharply sweet unless you prefer a very sweet taste.
It is easy on the stomach, but do you use it as a replacement for the orange juice in the morning? Well it's up to you to choose, but for me I still prefer fresh orange juice every morning.
Is it suitable for romantic evenings as an alternative to alcohol? I think yes. After all, at least you still remember what you have done last night!