Story Of The Source
By Vanessa Rogers of TextBOX Conceptual
1) What exactly is a water sommelier?
I’m somebody who understands that water has taste, and that water is the most valuable resource on the planet. As a water sommelier, I host water tastings, curate water menus for hotels and restaurants, consult on all matters relating to water, offer workshops on becoming a water connoisseur and training for the hospitality industry on the art of water service, including how to pair water to wine. I drive initiatives that educate the public on water, from taste to TDS, what’s in their water and what to look out for when buying bottled water.
I love the conservational topic of “water” and using the tasting tool, I can get the conversation going on the topic of water, for others to take part in, in finding the solution to the world’s water crisis. There are billions of people around the world who do not have access to safe drinking water, yet there are billions still, who take water for granted. The conversation of water is the most important conversation we should be having, whether at the dinner table with friends or at home while we refill our water bottles from the tap.
2) Where have you been all this time?
For the last part of the pandemic year, I spent time building up a distribution company called OriginFloe, to cater for the ever-growing demand of different and unique tasting waters from across the globe. Everybody wants to experience the taste of waters and these tastes come from far and wide.
At OriginFloe, we’re based in South Africa, but consider ourselves frequent flyers. Our partner brands are based across the world, and getting waters and menus into restaurants and hotels has become a lot easier with a water sommelier who also runs a distribution company. Curating a water menu is an art and it’s a bonus having all the world’s most iconic brands under one roof. We house the very best of the best when it comes to quality and the story behind each brand.
3) Tell us about the values inherent in fine water.
Fine Water is a natural product, with terroir and a story to tell. Much like wine, the terroir of water is determined by the geographical condition at its source that affects the taste of this water. Fine water has a story to tell: can you imagine sipping on water that’s travelled beneath the surface of the earth for more than 2 000 years before reaching its destination? Fine water paired to wine and cuisine takes dining to new levels. A water sommelier will harmonise the pairing for you. Fine water also accompanies coffee and chocolate superbly!
4) What is the difference between a fine water, such as the one mentioned above, and a premium water?
A premium water could be one that, for example, has diamonds encrusted on the bottle but does not, necessarily, have an amazing source with an emotive story on the inside. All fine waters are premium waters, but not all premium waters are fine waters.
5) Where in the world would you most like to curate a menu that fits in with the ultimate epicurean experience?
Hotels and restaurants are desperately needing to offer exceptional water service. The word “service” does not apply to one aspect of dining and not to others. Water etiquette describes pouring, temperature, stemware and presentation, all of which are critical to the epicurean table. Part of the service I offer is in-house training on water service etiquette. This takes dining to new levels.
These is no sea I will not cross in pursuit of a well-designed water menu backed by incredible waters, ready to be presented and experienced by an appreciative audience. The world is truly my oyster.
6) Why are restaurants embracing water sommeliers?
Fine waters with different taste profiles are the magic that your guests are looking for. They are also looking for something truly unique and niche; water that emotionally resonates with them. They want options and luxury. As a water sommelier, partnering with restaurants in rolling out world-class water menus and training their staff to be the most incredible water service professionals is my goal. This gives water value at the epicurean table, and the conversations that follow are critical for reaching solutions to the world’s water crisis. Water is everybody’s business, not to mention that water menus are a substantial revenue centre for businesses. It would be silly not to get involved when it’s a win-win all round.