Letting taste buds be the judge

Juice drinker: Teetotaller Harold van Buuren. Pic. Elizabeth Sejake. 01/09/08. © Sunday Times.
Juice drinker: Teetotaller Harold van Buuren. Pic. Elizabeth Sejake. 01/09/08. © Sunday Times.

"So you think you can taste orange juice?" we asked international dancer and choreographer Harold van Buuren, a judge on SABC1's successful new show So You Think You Can Dance.

Van Buuren tried five different kinds of orange juice to judge which one would get your taste buds dancing.

"You've got the right person here because I love orange juice and I love to judge," says Harold, taking his first sip of The Real Juice Company's Pure Crushed Orange Juice.

"I also don't drink alcohol, so I take a lot of juice instead.

"It's really delicious. Very fresh and very fruity," he comments in between sips.

"This juice could have come directly from the orange; it could have been squeezed as we stood here. I can't detect any additional flavours, chemicals or preservatives."

According to the ingredient information, though, this juice contains added sugar, sodium benzoate, potassium sorbate and pimaricin.

"The packaging is great," Van Buuren says.

"The bottle is small [300ml] so it's easy to take with you in your bag to sip throughout the morning. The top closes nicely and firmly and I like the plainness of the design.

"It just makes the juice seem pure and appetising."

Woolworths produces orange juice in 500ml containers which Van Buuren thinks is a hassle to carry around.

He likes the simple design and clear product information on the label.

According to the information on the label, Woolworths 100% orange juice contains only orange juice and anti-foaming agent. The real pulp pieces seem to enhance the natural taste of this juice.

"It's a good juice but I prefer bottles to cartons.

"There's also another taste that underlies the orange flavour. It's still delicious and fresh, but there's nothing that beats juice squeezed directly from sweet oranges at home and served from the juicer with a couple of ice cubes."

Ceres produces orange juice that the recyclable carton says contains real cells.

The 1-litre carton advertises that this juice is rich in vitamins A, C and E.

Van Buuren is not impressed. He thinks that it is less tasty, more watery and subtle.

"It just doesn't taste as fresh," he says. "I also would seriously advise chilling this juice. It shouldn't be served at room temperature."

His assessment: "It's not pure."

He's right as the juice is a mixture of orange, grape, apple and pear juices, added vitamins and natural flavourant.

"Liqui-Fruit orange is a taste I recognise from my youth," says Van Buuren.

"I doubt whether it's the purest juice, but it is smooth and tasty and has that Liqui-Fruit signature."

Pick n Pay's Choice Orange admits boldly on the front of the packaging that it is a pure fruit juice blend and not strictly pure orange juice.

It also claims to be high in vitamin C.

"It's enjoyable," he says.

"It's murkier and does not have any pulp."

Van Buuren suggests stocking up on orange juice and dancing along to the first season of So You Think You Can Dance, every Saturday on SABC1 at 6.30pm.