All of us have been asked whether we'd prefer bottled or regular water in a restaurant and many of us opt for the former, as we believe it to be better. Till a few years ago, in India, bottled water was sold as mineral water, but thank heavens, the government decided to act and ask bottlers to differentiate between mineral and filtered drinking water, which is what most Indian bottled waters were. Water not only rejuvenates and cleanses the palate but acts an aperitif, whetting the appetite and prepares the diner for the culinary journey ahead. As Ganesh Iyer, India's first water sommelier so nicely puts it, water is the new and healthier wine and in the near future water pairing with food, will be as common as wine pairings are today. I feel that water is not only healthier but also goes better with certain cuisines, especially our native Indian cuisine.
How To Pair Water With Food | 8 Things To Keep In Mind While Pairing Water And Food
Waters, similar to wine can be well-paired with foods.
1. Light flavored waters go well with dishes with delicate flavors, while heavy waters are best served with red meats and strong flavors.
2. Some water sommeliers may also serve or recommend a light or carbonated water with a strong flavored dish, to show the contrast between flavors or cleanse the palate.
3. Different cuisines also maybe suited to different flavored waters. The choice of water may also depend on whether alcoholic drinks, such as wine are being paired with the food.
4. Heavy waters such as Italy's San Pellegrino may be ideally suited to Chinese cuisine, as both have strong flavors. On the other hand, a light water such as Bodh Bhutan or Veen Bhutan will suitable for a light dessert or a light soup such as chicken or vegetable broth.
5. On the other hand, heavier meat-based soups could do with a still water like Cape Karoo from South Africa. The light mineral taste of the water doesn't overwhelm the flavors of the soup but helps in cleansing the palate for the next course.
6. A general rule of thumb can be light mineralized and sweetish waters, go well with light dishes such as salads, seafood and vegetarian cuisine, however, oily food like Indian could be paired with heavy mineralized water, as it aids in cleansing the palate and also goes well with the food.
7. Meat dishes like steaks, Spaghetti Bolognese will go well with carbonated heavy mineralized water like Pedras from Portugal, however, a sommelier could also recommend a light water like Acqua Panna, which is sweetish and allows the flavors of the meat to linger on in the mouth.
8. Desserts tend to go well with carbonated but lighter waters such as Perrier or Cana Royal from Slovenia and Are from Sweden.
One needs to realize that water unlike wines, tends to be more neutral and the variances tend to be more subtle and thus, different waters, both carbonated or still, heavy mineralized or light, metallic or sweet can be paired with all manners of cuisines. Experiment with water, drink what you like, there are no hard and fast rules. Water is the Earth's nectar, enjoyable with everything.
About Author: Lakshitaa Khanna is India's first female Water Sommelier artist.
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