Sparkling water, let’s start to know it better

Italy is the consumption leading country for mineral water

For many years, mineral water is a certainty that can’t fail from being found in the Italian and international catering world, but it is a drink still not well known, not even from the same restaurateurs, chefs, bar tenders and waiters. And even Cooking Schools don’t devote a lot of time to this matter, in order to illustrate their nature, characteristics and effects.

So, let’s start from the very beginning, recalling to our mind that mineral water is a type of spring water, usually sold in bottles, respecting all legal requirements.

In Italy spring water can be sold as Sparkling water only when it answer for the Legislative Criteria of 8 October 2011 n. 176 ( that recognizes for Italy the directive 2009/54 of the European Commission), according to which “ Mineral waters coming from an aquifer or water deposit, come from one or more natural or drilled springs, having particular sanitary characteristics that are favourable for health”.

Italy has the primacy of per head consumption, even if, recently there was a hammering call to favour tap water, clearly less expensive, but considered by many not totally safe, given the status of many Italian water mains.

Different types of mineral water

The Italian law ( Legislative decree 25 Jan, 1995, n°5) divides marketable mineral waters in two different categories, as follows:

A – Sparkling mineral water: in which the salinity at 180° is less than 50 mg/lt
B – Water with a low mineral content (or lightly mineral): in which the fixed salinity is between 50 and 500 mg/lt
C – Water rich in mineral salts: fixed salinity not higher than 1500 mg/lt

The legislative decree dated 1992, issued for the directive 80/777/CEE, that “ Natural Mineral Water can be distinguished from tap common water for their original purity and its conservation, for their salinity index.

They are kept away from any risk of pollution”, – this is why mineral water on the market have to offer, and as a matter of facts, they offer, every possible purity warranty and thus of extreme potability of water, with a precise and registered mineral level.

Always this decree, along its 21 articles, not only defines the characteristics of spring water to be defined as mineral, but also precises in a detailed way how mineral water can be used, the operations that are allowed and those that are not allowed, what has to be reported on the label to inform correctly the buyer and many other things, as a warranty to the consumers.

A little bit of history

Since ancient times, mineral waters have been used above all for their curative virtues, great proof of this is the much beloved by Romans and Turkish thermal baths. The latter have built a great site in Budapest, the capital city of Hungary, which they conquered in 1526 and then kept until 1683.

Thermal baths have been always used, but above all they were enhanced in the ‘700 in all of Europe, as tells us Giacomo Casanova in his memories, from the second half of the past century, with the improvement of the economic condition of families and with the spreading of fears connected with water pollution, made known also by the media, mineral waters have acquired a more important role in everyday nutrition, as well as the world of food service.

At present Italy is among the majors water consumers in the world, with a year turnout apx. of two and a half billion euro. This record shared also under the producing aspect, since every year apx. 12 billion mineral water is “produced”.

The roots of success met by mineral water are to be traced back not only in the advertisement campaigns of producers, but also in the characteristics above all for health and for purity of water, and also because the water of our river is not totally healthy.

One thing remains true and it is because mineral water has entered as fixed presence not only in the whole world of catering but also in the families. In catering, water menus are becoming of common use.

Edited by Laura Nascimben

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