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al fresco

Little known in North America—in fact, little known everywhere outside of Italy—al fresco is the brand name in Italy of the soft drink that the rest of the world knows as Fresca (often spelled in all capital letters, i.e. FRESCA). In common usage, but not in any company marketing materials, some people spell al fresco without the space, i.e., as alfresco. That is incorrect. The official spelling is al fresco.

Why Coca Cola, the makers of Fresca, felt the need for a different brand in Italy than in the rest of the world and why it chose to use only lower case in the two words in the Italian brand name are company secrets. No employee has ever divulged the answers to those questions to anyone outside of the company, which is why they are still referred to as company secrets as opposed to, say, common knowledge. I don’t have any contacts inside the company, so don’t expect to hear the answers from me.

al fresco is an exclusively Italian drink. In fact, to maintain it’s Italian exclusivity retailers keep all bottles, cans and cases of al fresco hidden behind the counter. They will sell it to you only if you can prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that you both have Italian citizenship and currently reside in Italy. If you are not Italian or you don’t currently live in Italy, or if there is the slightest of doubts about your citizenship and residency, shopkeepers will deny that al fresco even exists if you ask them to sell you some.

The Coca Cola Company further reinforces the exclusivity of this brand by denying its existence. This is true of the lowliest of clerks in the company right up through the senior executives and the board of directors of Coke.

There are a couple of colourful customs that Italians adhere to unfailingly when drinking al fresco. First, they never drink al fresco indoors, only outside. And second, when eating while hidden away in a secluded backyard patio, out of the view of foreigners, they will often forgo the wine that most outsiders think they drink with every meal and drink only al fresco instead. This is referred to as “dining al fresco.”

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