Water, a highly symbolic element that is an integral part of our lives, perhaps even a life force. As World Water Week draws to a close, perhaps one solution to the challenges of water in our future lies below ground. Associated with purity, the Celts believed that source water was sacred because it ran through the earth, Mother Earth. Some waters occur naturally deep within the bedrock of the earth, mineral waters, spring waters, wild waters, and France is filled with abundant varieties of these underground natural mineral source waters.
Quézac is a wild water of France which finds its source in the Lozère region of southern France in the Gorges du Tarn canyon in the area of Gévaudan, an area of legend and another wild resource of France, wolves. The source was discovered in the late 19th century and has been bottled since 1901 and so is 120-years young this year. The sparkling mineral water of Quézac is bursting with mineral salts including calcium, magnesium and potassium. Its taste is refreshing and like all mineral waters unique.
Saint-Amand is an Artesian water, free-flowing spring water that emanates from underground wells. It is water that moves to the surface naturally. Saint Amand is « captured » 90 meters (nearly 300 feet) below the surface in northern France in Clos de l’Abbaye near Saint-Amand-les-Eaux. Discovered in 1967 by Fernand Chantraine, both the still and sparkling waters of Saint-Amand are packed with calcium, magnesium and potassium picked up in the depths of the earth as the water runs through layers of chalk, clay, limestone and what is known as blue Marne rock. The bottles, packaging and cap, which stays on the bottle once it is opened, are all made locally.
Meanwhile the sparkling mineral water of Saint-Yorre is not only filled with potassium, calcium and magnesium but a dense amount of bicarbonate of soda. Back in the 19th century a pharmacist named Nicolas Larbaud in Saint-Yorre, a small town in central France near Vichy in the Auvergne region, discovered that source water was gushing beneath the surface of his property. He received the authorization to begin bottling it in 1858 and the mineral water of Saint-Yorre has been a household name in France since practically ever since.
©Trish Valicenti for The Gourmet Gazette
Categories: Gourmet Fare