Raw milk “Pepsi challenge” in Romania

Here’s a different kind of raw milk story from Romania. This is from the blog “Arabian Drum – Peace Corps Blogs. The following is an excerpt from a post called “The Pepsi Challenge“:

Milking goats in Romania. Photo Tim Clayton, Sony World Photo Awards.

Milking goats in Romania. Photo Tim Clayton, Sony World Photo Awards.

“Raw milk is very easy to find, here in Romania. Bunici (grandmas) typically stand on the busy before-noon street corners, and lean against brick walls or warped garden rails. Placed before them are a few ‘recycled’ 2-liter soda bottles filled with warm, raw milk, so white that it glows. If you want the milk, all you have to do is identify a spot where one of these old women typically stands and sells each morning, and go early before all of her bottles are gone.

I wanted raw milk, as MB has been expounding its goodness. I also wanted to try making my own yogurt, and I figured it would taste best with milk drawn from an animal only a few hours before. Krzyczk came to visit, and we were walking along the piata lane outside of my bloc late one morning. There’s a bunica that peddles milk at the end of the road, but she typically disappears after 10:30.

Pouring raw milk into a milk can in Romania.

This morning, however, she still had two bottles of milk to sell– each was stored in an old, 2 liter ‘Pepsi Twist,’ bottle. She was leaning back, giggling to another woman (this one completely toothless) standing alongside her. I pulled out my wallet and asked her “Ma’am, how much does a bottle cost?”

The bunica leaned forward, and tried to see how much money I had in my wallet. Her lack of tact made me laugh a little, and I coolly put my wallet back into my pocket. “Well,” she replied, “One is cow milk, and the other is goat milk, but I forget which. Can you taste them and see?”

“Uh–I don’t know the difference.”

“Let the girl taste,” the bunica said as she pointed at Krzyczk. “The girl should be able to know.”

“No, no, no. We don’t know.”

“Then, taste both, and see which you like more.”

I hesitated, and looked at Krzyczk, but she looked as confused as I felt. Something in me felt ready for adventure, so I unscrewed bottle one, and sipped. It tasted like milk, but it was very pungent. It tickled my tongue a little. I sipped the next bottle. It was also pungent, but there was a faint sweetness to it, which may or may not have been a bit of Pepsi Twist still coating the insides of the bottle. I told her I’d take the second–the Pepsi flavored milk.

“Ah that bottle,” the woman said. “Well, it has more fat, so it’s more expensive–it’s seven lei.”

Romanian farmers version of a pickup truck.

Could this be a Romanian farmer's equivalent of a pickup truck? I remember seeing horse-drawn carts like this on the roads during my visit to Poland back in 2006.

I laughed that the woman remembered which bottle had more fat, although she couldn’t remember which animal they had come from. I suddenly experienced that weird moment in consumer interaction, in which I almost felt obligated to pay the woman. She was a good salesman–she had shamed me into feeling like I had to buy something, since I had tasted out of both bottles…..”

Read the whole post here.

Lead photo from this page.

Other photos by Mark from this BBC page.

2 Comments

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2 responses to “Raw milk “Pepsi challenge” in Romania

  1. Pingback: Dairy Goats: Romania | All Things Goat

  2. Give me raw milk anytime! YUCKs at Pepsi! ~grin~

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