Not Just A Ghost In The Machine – European Vending Machines

This post comes with a warning for Americans (and any other country that doesn’t display items many Americans would feel are more mature or private in public spaces).  Warning – While I took these pictures in the middle of a train station in Switzerland, but in the US (and probably other places) people consider these items to be more of an adult or private nature.

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We’ve noticed that vending machines in Europe contain some things that are um, well, a bit different than what you would see in American vending machines (or at least the ones not found in truck stops).  Take a look below and see for yourself.

Yes, that is C-ICE, “Swiss Cannabis Ice Tea,” located above.  It is made from black tea hemp bloom syrup (5%), and hemp bloom extract (0.0015%) that will allegedly give you a “fantastic natural feeling.”  It allegedly has low levels of THC, but appears to be marketed more as a health drink.  We didn’t try it, but the Top Gear guys did when they visited Romania.

Please note that the pack of lighters (above) is located adjacent to a kid’s candy bar. Also for kids is Buffalo Jr., a children’s energy drink.  It doesn’t contain either Taurine or caffeine and is marketed as providing “an additional supply of energy producing L-Carnitine needed for an active life.”

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Chartreuse, It’ll Put Hair On Your Chest!

France has a food and drink culture.  Apparently, every region of France has its own liqueur(s). He received some Chartreuse as a present.  Now, I know where the color Chartreuse comes from.  Even the cork is bright green.
Chartreuse is surprisingly good.  It is made from over 150 herbs, plants and spices.  One of them is anise, a spicy black licorice, flavor.  The Peres (fathers) Chartreux originally created as an “Elixir of Long Life” from a recipe given to them by François Hannibal d’Estrées, a marshal of artillery to French king Henry IV, in 1605.  Today, it is produced by Carthusian monks in the French Alps.  Only three living monks know the recipe to this drink and they’ve taken a vow of silence!


They didn’t skip on the presentation.  The numbered bottle came with seals in a special wooden box!  

The yellow version is sweeter and milder than the green, which will put hair on your chest.  V.E.P. stands for Vieillissement Exceptionnellement Prolonge, is Chartreuse aged for a longer period of time.  Its a high-end luxury liquor which means that even though it will still put hair on your chest, it’s a little more mellow than the regular.

Although I’d never heard of it before moving here, I understand that hip cocktail joints are using it in drinks.  The New York Times wrote an article about its increasing popularity in the US, proclaiming it “[a] fetish among cocktail enthusiasts, but obscure to the general public, Chartreuse has been steadily infiltrating cocktail menus in New York and elsewhere, with bartenders increasingly reaching for it to add depth and nuance — and instant classical cred — to their creations.”  Popular cocktails include: the Chartreuse SmashThe LumièreThe Beauty SpotThe Last Word, the Champs-Élysées CocktailGreenpointEureka Punch and CCR.

Chartreuse was originally intended as medicine and has a distinctly herbal taste.  I’m not sure if it will work every time, but it cured my cold!  As Brian Fontana said in Anchorman:  “They’ve done studies, you know. 60% of the time, it works every time.”