The first thing that wowed me about Zari Sparkling Grape Juice was the beautifully designed artwork on the bottle. If you’re all about presentation you could see how such a striking bottle could enhance any table setting. Gone are the days when you entertained 1000 people for a wedding, rolled out white butcher paper onto trestle tables and served Akhni in plastic bowls and Marshals in the bottle. We have since progressed to smaller functions, linen covered tables and catered services. What we still do see is the plastic bottle of soda that encroaches into that carefully constructed sea of bridal elegance and cheekily maintains its place on the table as if challenging you to find a better option, which we know sadly is very lacking in the halaal beverage market.
And this is where products like Zari come to the rescue. With it’s stunning bottle it can enhance even the most discerning table. Zari is the brainchild of Silvana Dantu and Shareen Parker, who both hail from the local tourism industry. Recognising a gap in the market for a sophisticated non alcoholic beverage they decided to produce a high end sparkling grape juice that could serve that gap.
With halaal tourism on the increase they are able to cater to increasing Muslim tourists from the Middle East as well as pregnant woman and teetotalers. Zari has also been featured at the Gulfood Show at the Dubai World Trade Centre in February this year, and have landed a distribution deal with the Lulu Hypermarket chain in Dubai.
The producers of Zari have sent me a sample of both their red and white sparkling juice and asked me to write a few words about it. This is my honest opinion.
First I took some pics of course to dress up this post and got Z to be my hand model. The bottles had to be chilled in the fridge as it’s best served ice cold I was advised by Shareen. After unwrapping the foil I carefully removed the cork and was surprised by the distinctive loud pop which I was not expecting. I poured the white into a stemmed goblet and the red into a tumbler. Shareen tells me that the typical wine glass is too big for this drink and they are developing a specific sized glass which will be the right size for it.
Personally I don’t like grape juice especially white grape juice. And the first sip I had of the Zari white didn’t do it for me. However, as I took a second sip, I could appreciate its smooth texture and quite liked the subtlety of the bubbles, very unlike the windy bubbles in soda, but still found the juice a tad too sweet. The red however, was more my thing. Slightly drier and less sweet. The flavour is simple, as it’s pure grape juice from the Muscat Seedless Cultivar and nothing else. No added sugar or artificial colourants.
I had opened both 750ml bottles so I could taste them both, but having been sealed with a cork, re-sealing presented a problem. So I had to improvise a little. They are however producing screw cap bottles and cans to enter the market later this year. The 750ml bubbly is currently priced at R60 a bottle.
ZARI Sparkling Grape is available at selected Pick n Pay and SPAR stores, hotels and speciality stores. It can be ordered directly from them. Contact Shareen Parker at 072 9056727.