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Searching for the perfect pairing with water

More than 3,000 mineral waters inundate our tables around the world and hydrate our body and soul.

We tend to look for the best wine pairing to the exceptional ingredients that we cook with but often we forget a fundamental element that is never missing from the table: Water, either still or sparkling. The only drink that starts and ends at the table, helping us cleansing our palate enhancing the pairing of food and wine.

The search for the epicurean culinary experience resides in the balance of all the elements included in our tasting menu to be perfect and none of them to prevail over others.

S. Pellegrino, full of Italian character, perfectly combines with wines full of body and rich in tannins. Instead, Acqua Panna, still water, subtlety, with its sweetness and balance in the mouth should be wrapped in warm, harmonious dishes.

The president of the Academy of Sommeliers of Spain, Juan Muñoz, answer us some questions about the pairing with water.

– What do we rely on when pairing our meal?

It is essential the knowledge of three fundamental points: ingredients; seasoning; and the technique used in its preparation (baked, grilled, fried, etc.).

– Is Water as important as Wine?

Yes, of course, it is a very important element that to keep or to eliminate the taste of a dish, and even complement flavors.

– What are the aspects to consider when pairing a plate?

With still water it depends on the classification according to quality (Natural Mineral or Mineral Spring or Potable), mineralization (very weak, weak, medium or high) and the contents of pH (6, acid, 10, alkaline).

On the other hand, with sparkling water; in addition to the above mentioned, the type of gasification, and the amount of carbonation depending on the mineral. This is the difference between fresh, citrous and creamy S. Pellegrino water and other waters with excess of carbonation, salty, hard, etc.

– Are there foods that combine better with water?

Yes, there are subtleties of fish that go better with still water and strengths of red meat for sparkling water.

– How should we drink them?

S. Pellegrino does not need anything added to bring you freshness from citric lemon, as it is fresh and creamy by nature. Its temperature must be around 10 °C.

The menu

We enter the kitchen of Restaurant Nineu (San Sebastian, Spain) to enjoy S. Pellegrino and Acqua Panna waters at a recent event organized by the Italian brand around San Sebastian Gastronomika.

Carles Gaig y Nandu Jubany
Carles Gaig (left) y Nandu Jubany (right)

The masters of ceremony, Carles Gaig with “traditional modern Catalan cuisine” and the “current Catalan cuisine” in the hands of Nandu Jubany. Two chefs converging on the Mediterranean, praising their love for goods products, and the respect for tradition and territory, in relation to current challenges and the vision of the future in haute cuisine.

We pair dishes with water S. Pellegrino and Acqua Panna in addition to white wines, red wines, champagnes, etc., curated by sommelier Juan Muñoz.

Ostras al cava

Oysters with cava – C. Gaig

estofado-de-oronjas-carles-gaigBraised “Amanita caesarea” mushroom and sea cucumber – C. Gaig

Acqua Panna and Cava Cuvée Prestige: Monastrell Xarello Brut Reserva

“Respect and balance with the pressure and bubble Cava, maintaining salinity oyster”

Calamar de anzuelo y cebolla de FiguerasCalamari and Figueras onion – C. Gaig

S. Pellegrino and Versatus White wine – Rias Baixas 2014

“Maintain, enhance the flavors thanks to the gas / water creamy and fine bubble”

Nuestra aceitunas ArbequinasOur Arbequina olives – Nandu Jubany

Acqua Panna and Versatus White wine – Rias Baixas 2014

“Perfect salinity and olives strength, balance need pleasurable sensation after a meal with these vegetal notes”

Alubias tiernas de nuestro huerto con tripas de bacalao y níscalosSeason beans from our garden with cod fish and “chanterelles” mushrooms

Puerros escalibados con mantequilla de almendra y anchoaLeeks and escalibados with almond butter and anchovy – Nandu Jubany

S. Pellegrino and Wine Vineyard AB – Jeréz

“Sherry, fresh vegetable and cod tripe. A perfect union that needs a perfect water in maintaining flavors, such as the S. Pellegrino”

Yema de huevo con cigalas, tuétano, caviar Imperial y puré de coliflorYolk with scampi, marrow, Imperial caviar and cauliflower purée – Nandu Jubany

S. Pellegrino and Cava Gran Juve y Camps – Brut Gran Reserva

“Covering food (egg) more intense flavors, Norway lobster, caviar and cauliflower creaminess. We continue with elegance in maintaining flavors and iodine counteract the acidity and a little caviar”

Canelón de “rostit” y crema de trufas negras“Pollastre rostit” Cannelloni and black truffle cream – C. Gaig

S. Pellegrino and Wine Gloria Ferrer – Carneros Cuvée

“Two bubbles come together to bring clarity and flavor to a rich dish under a sense of elegance and freshness”

Arroz cremoso de gambas de PalamósCreamy rice with “Palamos” shrimps – Nandu Jubany

S. Pellegrino and Wine Marimar Estate – Dona Margarita Vineyard Mas Cavalls – P.N. Sonoma Coast

“Pinot Noirs large, need something hard. Creaminess as this rice and prawn power, are perfect and maintained with fresh and acidulous bubble S. Pellegrino”

Pichón al “Pajarete”Pigeon marinated in “Pajarete” wine – C. Gaig

S. Pellegrino and Purgatori Vino Tinto – Costers del Segre

“Meat, dark and intense juice. Mediterranean red wine with character, ideal couples who lack the final element so that everything is balanced, water that keeps the flavors and at the same time they contribute softness and final freshness”

Trufa helada con licor de cacao calienteTruffle ice with hot cocoa liquor – Nandu Jubany

Acqua Panna and Nigori Sake G. Kru

“First experience of water with a high quality sake as this Nigori Nama (unpasteurized). Expressed sake notes reminiscent of milk, malic and very tasty sweet time together cocoa finish. All this needed something to curb and provide balance, and that work was done by the wáter”

Requesón. Higos y mielCottage cheese, figs and honey – C. Gaig

S. Pellegrino and Lustau Jerez – Pata de Gallina

“The end of the meal marked by two strong elements. Cottage cheese – Figs – Honey and spectacular Jerez, freshness, acidulous bubbles and balance for the end of an amazing meal”

Water – Wine – Food, a trinomial based on balance, respect and pleasure.

Foto de platos: Daniel Arbós / Portada: S. Pellegrino
Autor del artículo
Manu Balanzino
Chef, sumiller y asesor gastronómico. Experto en gestión de Alimentos y Bebidas en el sector de la Hostelería, se encuentra inmerso en labores de asesoramiento a restaurantes en el desarrollo de cartas, vinos, destilados y control de costes. A su vez, asesora a numerosas marcas del sector agroalimentario. Su formación en el sector Servicios comienza en la Escuela de Hostelería de Benalmádena, para posteriormente ampliar sus conocimientos, cursando la "Diplomatura en Gestión de Alimentos y Bebidas" en CIOMijas, y el "Certificado Profesional de Sommelier Internacional" por ESHOB. Manu Balanzino es un apasionado del mundo de la comunicación, y ha fundado el periódico digital de gastronomía, The Gourmet Journal, una publicación referencial del ámbito gastronómico la cual dirige. Además, es colaborador experto en gastronomía en revistas especializadas como Andalucía de Viaje, El Gourmet (AMC Networks International Latin America) y Diario Sur. En radio, conduce el programa "Momentos Gourmets" en COPE y en televisión, colabora en Canal Cocina, RTV Marbella y Fuengirola TV.

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