Whenever we go to a restaurant, especially in Italy, as soon as we are seated the waiter will ask: “Would you like water?” My instant answer is: “San Pellegrino, per piacere. (please)”
The waiter always smiles and brings out the famous water.
The label in Italy lists all the minerals, and you will see diners across the restaurant talking to their friends, but also staring at the label on the bottle and wondering whether 3.2 milligrams per liter of Strontium is dangerous.
The mineral contents of San Pellegrino water is printed in a tiny font, and many older Italians and also stranieri (foreigners) will put on their glasses to read the label.
When I was studying medicine in Bologna, there was no other mineral water sold in the restaurants. It was either San Pellegrino or “aqua commune” (common water) which not even a beggar would drink.
Italians always drink wine for every meal except breakfast. But in the middle of the day, since many had to go back to an office, or to a hospital to perform surgery, they would mix their wine with a little water to reduce the alcoholic content. This water had to be San Pellegrino.
THE SOURCE OF SAN PELLEGRINO
The Italian Alps are probably the friendliest Alps of the center of Europe.
When you are skiing on the Italian Alps you can always find a small hut half way down in Media Montagna (middle mountain) which will sell hot chocolate and, of course, Strega (witch) a yellow liqueur containing 70 herbs, saffron and forty percent alcohol. One or two snorts of Strega and you will be flying down the bottom half of the mountain.
The source of San Pellegrino is near the border of Switzerland. It is located in the province of Bergamo in the Swiss Italian Alps.
The towns in this area are enchanting. They are small, friendly and filled with ancient walkways where you can walk for hours and constantly see something new.
The San Pellegrino “Terme” is a spring with its source deep in the mountains.
Here is an instructive blurb from Red Sea World:
“S.Pellegrino is the result of an extraordinary combination of exceptionally pure water and minerals.
The water collects in a rocky mass on the side of the Brembana Valley in the Dolomites and then seeps down through hundreds of meters of mountain rock.
S. PELLEGRINO AND ANOTHER FASHION GIANT, MISSONI
After an underground journey which takes over 30 years and covers hundreds of kilometres, during which the water is cleansed of impurities and enriched with minerals, the water emerges at a temperature of 25° C from the source at San Pellegrino Terme.
The water’s pleasing effervescence, its subtle pearly reflections, and its thirst-quenching taste have made it famous the world over.
It makes an excellent accompaniment to well-flavoured dishes and full-bodied wines and, along with Acqua Panna, rounds off any fine dining experience.
Known since medieval times, by the 16th century the source of S.Pellegrino had become so renowned as to merit a visit from the great Leonardo Da Vinci himself, and over the next two centuries the source established itself as a major spa destination.
Over time San Pellegrino Terme gradually grew into an attractive town, and by the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries its elegant art nouveau buildings such as the Municipal Casino and the Grand Hotel, luxurious hotels and private villas, and fashionable restaurants and cafes, all meant that the town transformed itself into a magnet for aristocrats from all over Europe.
1899 saw the establishment of the S.Pellegrino water bottling company; just a few years later bottles of S.Pellegrino water could be found not only all over Europe and America, but also in Cairo, Tangiers, Shanghai, Calcutta, Rio de Janeiro and Sydney- making S.Pellegrino a “must have” for top restaurants around the globe.
Since then production and distribution have increased steadily over time, so that today S.Pellegrino is sold in 115 countries around the world.”
SAN PELLEGRINO AND BVLGARI
Because San Pellegrino is well known for its marketing talent, they recently did something unusual — they teamed up with BVLGARI, the famous Italian jewelry firm.
Their new label is astonishingly elegant. When my wife saw the new label the first words out of her mouth were: “I want a necklace like that!”
“Please!” I answered, “I’m only a doctor. I’m not Warren Buffett.”
But I subsequently admitted the design in terms of the jewels, their settings and the placements were extraordinarily well done.
San Pellegrino has done it again! Now diners no longer need to stare at the list of mineral ingredients. They and their female friends or relatives can eat, drink and wonder how much that Bvlgari jewelry costs.