According to the website (sanpellegrino.com), this is the champagne of mineral waters.

And according to the wrinkly taste test, the claim is not over stated. I don't usually like sparkling mineral waters, but S. Pellegrino always hits the spot. Refreshing, clean-tasting, not too salty and full of bubbles.

The water comes from a spring in the foothills of the Alps, just north of Bergamo, in Italy. The Spa was discovered way back in the 13th century, and a town, San Pellegrino Terme, grew up around the spa, with a huge building dedicated to the town's prime export: water.

The town grew up around the turn of the century, when the Art Nouveau/Liberty style was popular in Europe, and two especially grand buildings in the town: the casino and the Grand Hotel are examples of this relatively rare architectural style, with its extravagent light fittings, flowing lines and flamboyant designs in glass and metal.

The spring rises from an aquifer around 390m below the surface, emerging at around 25°C, with no carbon dioxide content. The sparkling versions of the water have this added at a later date. The spring has been certified as 'microbiologically pure'.

It emerges into another grand building, the Spa, which has granite columns and is built in an extravagant, 'Pompeian style'. The building has a mass-drinking area and also houses a swimming pool and offers treatments typical spa treatments, such as steam inhalation, bathing, mud baths and massage.

The spring water is most famously sold by the Milan-based company, Sanpellegrino SpA in two forms, sparkling and still. The still brand (Acqua Panna, with orange text on the labels) is, apparently, Italy's preferred still water. The sparkling version has a bluish label with a red star in the middle and the words 'S. Pellegrino' in dark blue writing across the top. Both brands are usually sold in green glass bottles.

According to a website which lists all the mineral waters of the world (this is a wonderful resource for those interested in mineral water), S Pellegrino gets a huge 4 (out of 5) marks for its taste, from 40 or so reviewers.

The mineralogical analysis is given thus (Bergamo, 1994)

All this factual content aside, the Sanpellegrino company tries to sell the product into the upper end of the market, sponsoring sailing events, gastronomy events and fashion events. Also, it emphasises its use in movies, placing the product in scenes where it is associated with the beautiful people.

Nevertheless, the image varies according to the country. According to the company website, S. Pellegrino predominantly reflects:

Further reading / sources

  • http://www.pmgeiser.ch/cgi-bin/mineral?disp=SanPellegrino
  • http://www.chefswarehouse.com/Catalog/DisplayDetail.aspx?prd_id=GW110
  • http://www.sanpellegrino.com/

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