…Captain Haddock so proclaimed in one episode of TinTin, referring to the Kingdom of Syldavia and their export of mineral water, the antithesis of what defines a drink for our dear captain. I used to agree with him too.

I never took to mineral water as a kid. Sugary soft drinks would always come up trumps. I was more into coffee and tea too, anything with a bit of flavour as long as it wasn’t boring old mineral water. A large part of the problem was that the mineral water available when I was a kid in Singapore tended to be crap tasting, deceptively vile liquids and I also lumped them in the same category as distilled water. Also 100% of them weren’t bubbly. In fact, there’s a file in a drawer in my head that contains this list of waters. It’s labelled “Do Not Drink!”.

I have taken to mineral water now though and find myself wanting to try more and more different labels. The sparkling variety is my thing. I just can’t do plain because I wouldn’t be able to differentiate with tap. Plus, what’s life without some bubbly. I have at least deduced that there are discernable flavours in mineral water but I have to cling onto something more.

Singapore has only a few of the most famous brands brought in. My faves were Gerolsteiner and San Pellegrino. The former comes from Germany and I find it particularly salty in taste compared to any other I’ve tried. It’s also naturally sparkling. The spring where they bottle the water has naturally carbonated water. The latter is Italian and found anywhere that serves fine food all over the world. Its clean and crisp and I find it quite balanced, making it perfect as a palate cleanser.

Over here in Sydney, the market is distinctly Italian and my personal fave now is La Galvanina. It comes in an attractive clear glass bottle and the deal clincher is the price, at under AUD$2 a bottle. San P. in contrast is over AUD$3. It tastes just as clean and crisp, with maybe a slightly chalkier character. For me, its an excellent everyday drinking water. I’d still use San P. in gourmet dining situations but to quench my thirst and as an alternative to Coke, La G gets my vote.

So why drag a fictional, bearded comic character into this? Quite simply, just so the next time someone asks me what’s my poison, I’ve got an unconventional answer on the tip of the tongue. Cheers Cap’n!

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