Sparkling Water – Is There A Difference?

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When I think of sparkling water, I think of carbonated water. I don’t drink sparkling water, so to me I lumped them all in the same category. The only difference in taste would be if there was a flavor added, such as lime, raspberry, grapefruit, etc. I know last summer I gave up diet sodas for the very refreshing taste of LaCroix lime flavored canned sparkling water. It was lovely, but after weeks of drinking it, I became bored, and started stacking my shopping cart with Coke Zero, a change from my regular diet Coke.

My interest in sparkling water piqued for an instant again, when some months later I invited a friend over for dinner. I remember the last time we got together he had a favorite wine. I couldn’t remember what he liked, so I asked, “What would you like to drink?” My friend took me by surprise. “San Pellegrino sparkling water is all I drink now!” For some reason that sounded pretentious to me, yet if he had given me the name of a wine, I would have never blinked. Somehow the name alone, San Pellegrino, had an air of sophistication to my naïve taste buds.

“Yes, I’ve given up the grape!” He chuckled.

I shared this story with another friend and again, was taken by surprise. “I love sparkling waters and try different types, usually what I find on sale when I shop. But if I am going with a theme for dinner, say Italian, I serve San Pellegrino. With French, it’s Perrier.”

Who knew? And why was I not invited to dinner?

This weekend I am hosting a sparkling water tasting at my shop, in the little café area called “The Watering Hole”. The name came about because I wanted to have a café, but was limited to what I could serve without a food license. Over dinner, where I do believe there was a glass of wine, I laughed with a friend about the name. “I will serve bottled water, sparkling water and tap water!”

I’ve done my research. And here are the results. I have yet to taste these, but have checked them out online.

The classic waters are Pellegrino and Mountain Valley.

San Pellegrino has tiny bubbles with a hint of mineral. The taste does not linger, so it is easier to drink more of it. This water goes well with cheeses, meats, and fish.

Mountain Valley has some bubbles and a little bit of mineral. It is a good bottle of water to have for a little bit of fizz.

The bold waters are Gerolsteiner (from Germany), Topo Chico (from Mexico) and Perrier (from France).

Gerolsteiner is sharp, metallic and bubbly. It is assertive and you can taste the minerals in it.

Topo Chico is crisp and clean with nice bubbles and a good balance of minerals.

Perrier has no mineral taste and big bubbles that disappear quickly. It also comes in flavors, lemon, lime, pink grapefruit and others.

Tomorrow I am off to the store to pick my sparkling waters for Friday evening’s event at my shop. I will let my guests answer the question that has been haunting me. Is there really a difference?

Barbara Barth, The CEO of Life

In addition to writing and rescuing dogs, the author has opened an antique/gift shop with a bit of a twist in the historic Old Town section of Lilburn, Georgia. Weekends you will find authors, artists, and musicians sharing their talents with events on Friday evenings and Saturday afternoons. The latest addition to the shop is the Old Town Lilburn Center For The Arts, which opens in two weeks, where classes will be held for teens to adults.

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