Pairing Water and Food: A Crash Course
Certified Water Sommelier Jessica Altieri has some tips and secrets on why and how to pair water with your holiday food celebrations. Think of it as a holiday present to you and your guests
Just like wine, water has a myriad of different flavors and qualities blending to crate the end taste and perception. Understanding these qualities not only makes for a better meal, it makes you a more interesting person to talk to at a cocktail party. And especially when you’re holding a bourbon with branch water (look it up), that’s important.
Mouthfeel, or the sensation of the water in the mouth, is the first thing we notice when we take a swig of life-giving water. Highly carbonated water has a bright, lively and distinct mouthfeel: You know it’s happening. Mineral water is perfect with hors d’oeuvre and, in a more reserved state, with salads and desserts.
On the other hand, still water is perfect for seafood and soup, and for red meat. Lightly effervescent water goes well with poultry. In the case of a lighter red meat dish, you can get away with bubbly once more.
Other Watery Qualities
The dissolved solid content is the next most distinct element. The more minerals are dissolved into the water, the crisper it tastes … to a point. After that point, water becomes heavy and unpleasant. pH factor also makes a flavor difference, as no one loves an acidic drink with any food.
Lastly, a water’s story. That, while intangible, is an important aspect of any drink, and just because we must have water to survive makes it no less important to understand its roots. Luckily, most artisanal water makers have a pretty darn good one, so look into it.
Notes from the Roasting Room
If you consider coffee a food, loosely, then it matters here too. While you might think a blank slate de-mineralized water is best for coffee, not so. Minerals such as magnesium, calcium and sodium bring out the piquancy of coffee’s many lively notes, and are a crucial addition to any brewing water.
Overwhelmed yet? The wide world of water wisdom has yet to be fully unfurled, but tastemakers are here to ensure that road gets paved. One such is Jessica Altieri Fine Water Sommelier, who would love to help you learn more about the role of water in your tummy, your kitchen and your world.