Water sommeliers are pretty rare but here in Malvern, Worcestershire our own tipple has such a following that it too has its own water tasting expert. This summer Simon Clarke became Malvern's very own water expert and knows a thing or two about how our local l'eau tastes and why it has such a following.
What makes our water different to everyone else's?
"Malvern is famous the world over for its natural springs and it's water has been enjoyed throughout the ages. Famous figures like Darwin and Her Majesty Queen Victoria were known to be fans." Simon said.
"Our local water is natural and untreated because of the way it is filtered through dense Cambrian rocks that form the Malvern Hills. This makes it generally devoid of minerals, bacteria, and suspended matter, to such an extent it's been likened to distilled water."
Doesn't all water taste the same?
"Lots of people will say that water all tastes the same but there are subtle difference. It's all to do with different tastes working together. Our local water is from the Holy Well Spring, in Malvern Wells. It's very clear and this gives it a clean fresh taste. It is delicate and has a lovely mouth feel."
So what would you pair with Holy Well Water?
"Holy well water is low in dissolved nutrients, this makes it good with cheeses and if you want to drink it alongside wine it's very good with a Sauvignon Blanc or really clean fresh dry white."
What about other water and food pairing?
"Not far from here we have Buxton water from Derbyshire, this has been filtered through the rocks for 5,000 years from one mile down and picks up nutrients on the way. Because of this its high in other minerals like sodium and other salts. It has lots of flavour, creamy in taste, delightful and refreshing, a good all-rounder but especially good with desserts or starters."
"Also popular is Italian San Pellegrino, it's completely different, really quite salty. It has lots of minerals to it, really high in magnesium and naturally sparkling. Because of that it goes better with main course meals . Its goes well with wine, Merlot or Shiraz, and so it goes well with heavier meats like Beef or Turkey, or even chocolate."
And which one do you like Simon?
"I'm a local boy through and through and love our local Malvern Water, but if I had to choose any other it would be San Pellegrino for its distinctive almost salty taste great with food or on its own."
And what about tap water?
"Yes, I do drink water from the tap," he says, "but only after its been filtered." he adds with a cheeky smile.