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Professional WATER sommelier details exactly which types should be paired with different foods, from red meat to salads, as she insists everyone should see water as a 'hydration celebration'

Daily Mail logo Daily Mail 18/04/2019 Carly Stern For Dailymail.com

© Getty The newly-opened Four Seasons Resort Palm Beach in Florida offers a pool and beachside access, a spa, fitness classes, water sports — and a designated water sommelier.

Jessica Altieri, 47, who started her post when the five-star hotel opened this year, insists that all water taste different. It tastes so different, in fact, that there are more appropriate varieties to drink with various types of food, just like wine pairings.

'I think water sommeliers will help others realize water is more than just water, it's a hydration celebration,' Altieri told Penta in a new interview, in which she gave readers a crash course in expert water tastes.

a person standing next to a bottle of wine on a table: Meet the expert: Jessica Altieri is the wine and water sommelier at the Four Seasons Resort Palm Beach in Florida © Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited Meet the expert: Jessica Altieri is the wine and water sommelier at the Four Seasons Resort Palm Beach in Florida

Altieri isn't just an expert in water — she is also a wine sommerlier, and can offer recommendations on both drinks. 

But while most people are accustomed to the idea that Pinot Grigio tastes different than Chardonnay — and that red wines go better with red meat than white wines — the idea that water flavours can vary so dramatically is a bit more foreign to the average drinker.

Yet Altieri insists that that's the case, and a trained palette like hers can taste a world of difference.

'A water sommelier is someone educated on the properties of water and the elements that affect it,' she explained. The sommelier can detect 'complex profiles like acidity, minerality, pH, and TDS of the majority of the waters on hand'.

'While those unaccustomed with fine water may mistakenly believe it to be easy, the task is actually complex and requires a vast amount of knowledge,' she went on. 

Altieri learned her trade at Doemens Academy near Munich, Germany, which has a special week-long course.

'Training includes identification of the terroir, which is the manner in which the geographic region affects the flavour and properties of the water before settling in the location from which it is sourced for drinking,' she explained. 

'Different kinds of water pair better with different types of food, just like wine. 

a woman posing for a picture: They're really different! She said a water sommelier can detect 'complex profiles like acidity, minerality, pH, and TDS of the majority of the waters on hand' © Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited They're really different! She said a water sommelier can detect 'complex profiles like acidity, minerality, pH, and TDS of the majority of the waters on hand'

'For example, waters with low total dissolved solid (TDS) content may help strengthen flavours in desserts. 

'Mineral water is perfect with hors d’oeuvres and, in a more reserved state, with salads and desserts. Pair a tray of oysters with a delicate mineral water with fine bubbles and high minerality.

The perfect water and food pairings revealed 

Mineral water - hors d'oeuvres, salads, desserts 

Fine bubbly mineral water - oysters 

Still water - lighter seafood, soup

Lightly effervescent water - poultry 

Bold bubbly water - red meat   

'On the other hand, still water is perfect for lighter seafood and soup, as it won’t overpower the dish, while lightly effervescent water goes well with poultry. 

'In the case of a lighter red meat dish, you can get away with bubbly once more. Just like a big, bold red wine stands up to a steak, a big, bold bubbly water would be a perfect match as well.'  

Some water are also better for brewing coffee or tea, she added.

One of her favourite brands include Svalbardi, which comes from near the North pole and costs $84.56 (€74.95) for a single 750ml bottle.  

Though Altieri's job is certainly unique, she's hardly the world's only water sommelier. There are several others who have also completed the same $3,000 course that she did at Doemens Academy.

And she thinks people like her will become more numerous and important.

'As consumers are continuing to understand the benefits of drinking water, the right water will become a part of their lifestyle,' she said. 

'I think the role of a water sommelier will increase over the next few years as the health benefits of hydration and the role of premium water in the luxury market expands.   

Altieri follows in the headline-making footsteps of restaurant manager Martin Riese, who calls himself a 'Water Tasting Educator' on his website.

'All waters have unique tastes,' he told the Los Angeles Times. 'A lot of Americans think water is just water, but I completely don't believe in that. Water has so many interesting nuances.'

In 2013, he launched a special 45-page water menu at Ray's & Stark Bar at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, with a list featured 20 different kinds of water from 12 countries across the globe. 

Bottles cost between $8 and $20 each, and it even included a $12 water tasting menu.

'We are already accustomed to pairing food with wine or beer, but many people don't know that water is just as important to the entire dining experience,' he said in the press release at the time. 

Last August, he launched the Fine Water Academy, and online school for training water sommeliers.

Related slideshow: Breakfast foods that aid in weight loss (and how) ( Provided by Photo Services)


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