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Adelbodner Water-Sommelier

What exactly makes a natural mineral water unique, and how does one discover these differences? Isn’t water just simply water, i.e. neutral and tasteless?
We got to the bottom of these questions and, together with our water-sommelier, Eugen Maurer, immersed ourselves in the wide and deep world of springs and their natural mineral waters!


The training to become a water-sommelier is relatively new in Switzerland. The course has only been offered since 2019. This is truly surprising, because Switzerland itself is known as “Wasserschloss Schweiz,” a nickname that springs from the endless lakes, rivers, glaciers, and bodies of water in this small country. But even in spite of this fact, more than half of the local population does not know the difference between tap water and natural mineral water.

Eugen, you successfully completed your training to become a Swiss Water-Sommelier in 2020. Congratulations! Up until now, I have only heard of a wine-sommelier and the increasingly popular beer-sommelier. What exactly does a water-sommelier do and where does one attend the training course? That is what a lot of people say. Most people can’t even wrap their heads around the term water-sommelier. So what does a water-sommelier actually do? Essentially it’s the same as a wine- or beer-sommelier. He is able to differentiate the taste of different mineral waters and can then offer advice about which water goes best with which occasion, as well as pairing the mineral water with drinks (ex. wine) or food. In Germany, the training course has been around for several years, and in Switzerland a second course was offered by Gastro Suisse in the autumn of 2020. (Note: Information regarding the training program will be given at the end of the interview.)

Okay, but let’s be honest, water may differ, but at the end of the day, water is just water. So how exactly does a water tasting work? First off, I have to disagree with you on that one. There are actually big differences between individual mineral waters. Especially here in Switzerland, the composition of the minerals from the individual springs really determines the taste of the mineral water. If you can imagine that it takes between 7 – 25 years for the water to work its way through the separate layers of rock, being enriched with different minerals along the way, then of course you can understand why water tastes and smells differently. And all mineral waters do not look the same as well; some are crystal clear, others are slightly silvery. 

It is precisely these quality characteristics that are, among other things, the biggest differences between natural mineral water and common tap water. Natural mineral water is a natural product of the highest quality. By law, it must come directly from the spring and be untreated and in its original purity in order to be bottled. All natural mineral waters are qualitatively the same, but nevertheless, they are all different. Tap water, on the other hand, can be mixed with spring, ground, lake or river water, and is thus subject to many changes.

Now you want to tell me that you actually recommend certain waters that depend on the meal or wine? Yes, exactly. Try our still Adelbodner mineral water with a fresh, mountain cheese and air-dried meat, accompanied by a strong, full-bodied red wine. The harmony of flavours on your palate will be an experience. Incidentally, paella and still Adelbodner mineral water also go excellent together.



Interview with Eugen Maurer

But isn’t it also just a matter of taste?
I agree with you there; it’s the same with a wine or a beer, yet there are essential differences. For example, a water with a high sodium content goes very well with desserts, sweet wine or a fizzy Prosecco. During sports, I need calcium and magnesium. Hydrocarbon helps to regulate acidity, so it is calming after a meal. Slightly mineralized, still water calls for rather light dishes.

So you see the water-sommelier in the role of a restaurateur?
Absolutely. The water sommelier can also act in an advisory role for the F&B manager. The knowledge from the training course can also be exciting for mineral springs, for those who are interested in water products, for the health-conscious, for care homes and hospitals or simply for people who work with or prefer non-alcoholic beverages.

So it would make sense if restaurants had more than one water on the menu or even if they offered a separate water menu?
This would definitely make sense, especially for the reasons mentioned above. Not every mineral water goes well with every meal, wine or other drink. What would the restaurateur recommend if you asked for a non-alcoholic drink or meal companion? This question almost always follows: “Would you like still or sparkling?” That is boring! It would be exciting if different types of mineral water were offered, depending on the choice of dishes. Or even the possibility of having suggestions for non-alcoholic food companions directly on the menu.

In the higher-level food service industry, should there be a water-sommelier, in addition to the wine-sommelier?
Ideally, yes. If not, the restaurateurs are always able to consult with Mineralquellen Adelboden…
I will be happy to give any restaurateur who deals with guests’ needs some tips on how to differentiate yourself with a water menu.

Eugen, thank you very much for the insight into the wide and deep world of natural mineral waters. I’m definitely looking forward to having a glass of Adelbodner Cristal accompanied by a sharp, mountain cheese and dried meat with you!

You can find more information regarding the Swiss Water-Sommelier here (gastrosuisse.ch).