Wednesday, October 13, 2010

"Yum, a hint of naturale"

"I gusti nulla" (I taste nothing); this is what I wanted to say. Perhaps "I taste a hint of naturale, and a scent of waterfall" would be more appropriate? So my local supermarket were unfortunately not offering taste tests of soft cheese or cured meats, but instead bottled water! I have always been a tap water girl back in Australia, this would even be my request in a restaurant, but in Italy I think perhaps it would be seen as inappropriate? All the parks have water taps with water constantly running for people to drink from, and water fountains for playing. Milans water supply, (and that of most of Northern Italy for that matter), is supposed to be very drinkable; so why all the bottled water? Are we just gullible for the marketing and so show lack of judgement? Do we prefer the taste of bottled water? After all Evian is just naive backwards!

Italians consume more bottled water than anywhere else in Europe. The average Italian uses 215 litres of water everyday for washing and drinking, but this figure becomes 30 times higher if you consider the virtual water we use to make the food we eat and wash the clothes we wear. In this way, every Italian consumes 6500 litres of water per day. This is the highest figure in the world, (excluding the USA). Suprisingly, 70% of the bottled water comes from abroad, as Italy is the 5th largest importer in the world. (Ref, WWF: World water week 2008.)

In Italy, 'water' is not just 'water'. I am not saying it is a secret miracle youth worker (well it partly is), I am saying that my simple "from the tap please" days are gone. When requesting water in a restaurant it may be acqua naturale, acqua minerale, (which can be acqua gassata; also called acqua frizzante); or acqua liscia which is non carbonated water. It appears to me that there may be more choice of differing water than wine; what is this world coming to?

On average a 2L bottle of water will cost anywhere between 20 and 50 cents when purchased in a supermarket and 5 times more when purchased at a restaurant. Being so cheap I must admit that we have given way to the superior force of bottled water. After all, it does keep us fit with the weight carrying them from the shops and the constant trips back and forth to the recycle bin. Trying to make the most of the bottles they also double for bath toys, a ten pin bowling set, music shakers and whacking sticks (do not worry mum, used on me not by me)! I will try to make the most of my self-inflicted bad situation, by reusing plastics where possible, always recycling and using the opportunity to teach my children about recycling.


  1. What a shame that aqua is more popular than vino!!! X

  2. Hi,
    I just came across your blog. I'm also an Australian living in Italy, but I live a little further south then you - in Calabria!
    We are lucky down here as my village is in the mountains and we have fresh water from the mountains where we go with our empty bottles and fill them up for free!