- Food and Cooking
Delicious, nitrate-free water: AQUA Carpatica
The art of tasting water professionally
I have been honored to have been selected as a judge for the International Water Tasting Festival competition at Berkeley Springs, West Virginia twice. It was really a learning process for me! Californian expert on water, Arthur von Wiesenburger, taught the group of judges how to go about differentiating and grading water from around the world.
We learned that counter-intuitively, the more water you drink, the thirstier you get! That's because your salivary glands get (over) rinsed. Saliva has other soothing ingredients, in addition to water. Professional water tasters counter this phenomenon with eating a few unsalted oyster crackers from time to time. Also, we were instructed not to drink coffee or alcohol for a while before judging; those liquids tend to dry out your mouth and also, can leave strong flavors on your palate that prevent you from tasting fine distinctions between waters.
With still water, "perfection" is a bit subjective; we tend to like best the flavors we grew up with. Even so, there are things that are the gold standard:
- No "off" odors
- No sediment
- No cloudiness
- No odd flavors
In naturally sparkling water, the same qualities apply, with the addition of the size of the bubbles being in play. The bubbles should be naturally occurring and be small/fine, like Champagne. Huge bubbles just make you burp! A perfect sparkling water should help you digest food.
Why drink AQUA Carpatica water?
We are born made of 65% water. Eventually, men's levels drop to about 60% water and women's levels -- with more fat in their bodies -- drop to about 55%. Many maladies and diseases trace their roots in dehydration: headaches, complications with diabetes, poor muscle performance and eventually, death.
Even if you do drink sufficient amounts of water -- and it can be difficult if you have the enormous additional quantities required if you suffer from gout, etc. -- the water you drink may be dangerous! New Hampshire's Department of Health has conducted that concluded many sources of water are high in nitrates. What does that mean? Nitrates have been linked to blood disorders in infants, gastric cancer and in utero developmental defects. They're often found in processed meats to enhance color and preservation.
What's a person to do? Fortunately for us, there's AQUA Carpatica to the rescue! I was happy to be hosted to experience it.
AQUA Carpatica's waters are sourced in Romania's Carpathian Mountains, enjoyed throughout history during the expanding Roman Empire and even earlier. Both their waters are uniquely free of nitrates! I was happy to be hosted to experience the line.
Their Naturally Sparkling Mineral Water is sourced from the Paltinis aquifer, "free from nitrate pollution or any other chemical, micro biolgical or physical impurity". I found it to be odor-free, with medium bubbles. There's a snap and minerality to the flavor. This water has a medium to heavy mouth feel. It would be terrific with even the most savory of foods, including those with onions and garlic.
Their Still Spring Water is sourced from the nearby Bajenaru aquifer and harvested at the surface. Scientists have determined that this source goes through a 14 year underground natural filtration process. Scent-wise, it has the tiniest whiff of minerality, then goes to nothing, but not a phony, artificial "nothing" like cheap filtered bottled water. It's clear and sediment free. I noticed a smooth, silky mouth feel. The water had a medium weight with slight briskness. There's no aftertaste.
Here's some more info about the waters:
- Calcium – which helps the body generate new skin cells and shed old cells
- Magnesium – which has anti-aging, anti-inflammatory and allergy-reducing properties
- A nearly neutral pH of 6.5 – the closest pH level to pure water compared to other sparkling waters on the market
- Natural carbonation – which aids in exfoliation and oxygenation of the skin
Nitrate-free water isn't easy to find! If you take a nitrate testing kit to test your home's water -- like I just did -- you may end up wondering if it's actually bacon that's coming through your faucet. AQUA Carpatica is available at Sprout's Farmer's Market and soon to be at Whole Foods, Wegmans and Kroger.