Matching Waters with Various Foods
There are three techniques that have validity. You will be able to learn through experimentation which method works best for you:
1. pH Balancing
- Food Specific While most foods do not have a greatly abnormal pH, there is a surprisingly wide range. For example, tomatoes and tomato products, the staple of Italian cuisine, are sharply acidic, with pH levels that can easily drop below 5.0. Certain spicy foods - not only Italian, but from anywhere - are even more acidic. The ideal waters to consume with acidic foods are the high pH waters, listed in our Purchasing Manager's Guide as degrees of sweetness and tartness. Similarly, some foods are quite alkalinic compared to the neutral level of 7.0. One example is oysters, which run surprisingly high in their pH. The ideal waters with alkalinic foods are the lower pH waters, listed in the PMG as degrees of sourness.
- Body Chemistry Specific It is a fact - sometimes an unpleasant fact - that our natural body chemistries tend toward one extreme or the other. Most often, the tendency, particularly as part of the aging process, is toward excessive acidity. Where body chemistry is the overarching factor, the selection of waters should be counteractive. For example, people whose bodies tend toward high acidity should consume higher pH (alkalinic) waters for ordinary hydration.
- Strong The consistency guidelines are akin to the "red wine=meat & game, white wine=fish & fowl" wine drinking precepts. Heavier waters - that is, those higher in mineral content - have the structure and robustness to accompany stronger tasting foods. Nothing tastes quite like a sharp cheese washed down with a delicious European heavy mineral water, for example, Borsec. This principle holds true for all strong tasting foods (somewhat subjective from person to person): the food usually tastes better and provide a more full culinary experience when accompanied by a strong water.
- Mild As you would imagine, the mirror image holds true for mild tasting and bland foods. There's no law that says you can't pour down a bottle of Ferrarelle (potent stuff!) with yogurt - but why? Any mild tasting food, including boiled meats, eggs, and unseasoned pastas, etc., works best with a crisp, clean low mineral water. Try a Ty Nant, or even lower in minerals, Spa or Daggio, next time you poach a chicken breast in dry white wine.
- Still Waters Most experts agree that foods very unusual or challenging - gassy, exotic, unfamiliar, overly seasoned - are best handled with still water.
- Sparkling Waters To add zest to an otherwise pedestrian dish, a sparkling water does wonders. Your constitution may dislike the big heavy-bubbled sparklings. There are several small-bubbled, softer fizzy waters to choose from.
- Naturally Carbonated The great delicacy among waters, and by far the rarest. Water connoisseurs use them the way a wine enthusiast drinks his most coveted vintages. They enhance any special dining experience, and are at their very best when consumed with full heavy meals. Of course, millions of people drink the "nat-carbs" religiously every day for curative reasons - another plus when selecting it to accompany a great meal.