Real Housewives of New York star Jill Zarin is facing questions and criticism after bringing a suitcase full of Diet Coke on a trip to Rome.
In a video with over 3.4 million views, Ally Shapiro (@allyshaps) shows her mother opening a suitcase to reveal many cans and bottles of Diet Coke.
“They don’t sell it in Europe,” Zarin says. “They only have Coke Light and Coke Zero, and it sucks.”
@allyshaps Any other diet coke girlies travel with an entire suitcase of diet coke? Luckily it made it safely! #dietcoke #flying #airport ♬ original sound – Ally Shapiro
In the comments section, many users pointed out that Europe has a wide range of Coca-Cola products—including Diet Coke.
“We definitely have Diet Coke,” wrote a user. “This cracked me up!”
“Strange? Diet Coke is my choice drink and I live in Europe,” added another. “We definitely have Diet Coke, Coke ZERO and others in Europe.”
In response to this comment, Shapiro wrote, “But it doesn’t taste the same!”
“Where we are going in Italy, Greece, Croatia it’s very hard to find Diet Coke,” she added in another comment. “And just this cruise we knew didn’t have at all.”
As silly as it may sound, it does appear that Shapiro is correct about this claim. While Coca-Cola Light and Coke Zero are available in various countries around Europe, several internet users have complained that Coca-Cola Light, the European equivalent to Diet Coke, is no longer available in Italy. Coca-Cola Croatia also makes no mention of the product on its website.
That said, the product appears available in Greece.
As for her allegation that the taste differs between the two continents, this is open to interpretation. That said, the formula for Coca-Cola Light differed slightly from Diet Coke in the way that Diet Coke utilizes aspartame as a sweetener, while Coca-Cola Light incorporated a blend of Sodium Cyclamate, Acesulfame, and Aspartame to sweeten its flavor.
Shapiro later posted a video of Zarin holding a Coca-Cola Light purchased on their cruise ship, saying that she checked with the ship prior to arrival to see if they had Diet Coke.
@allyshaps Replying to @alefrox ♬ original sound – Ally Shapiro
She echoed the idea of a flavor difference in a follow-up video.
@allyshaps Replying to @Abigail only real diet coke lovers know the difference! Yes some places have diet coke but it is very hard to find, and regardless its still not the same taste as the US! #dietcoke ♬ original sound – Ally Shapiro
Regardless of whether Coca-Cola Light and Diet Coke truly differ in taste, commenters saw the need to bring numerous bottles of the fizzy beverage as a sign of not enjoyment, but something more.
“And that, my friend, is addiction,” declared a user.
“The most American thing I’ve ever seen,” stated a second. “I’m American.”
We’ve reached out to the Coca-Cola Company and Shapiro via email.