Sunday, March 14, 2010

Tasting the Tap

A couple of weeks ago, I took a weekend getaway to the mountain town of Berkeley Springs, West VA. Officially named the Town of Bath by George Washington himself (who visited throughout his life), it boasts a natural spring with the benefits of water clean for drinking and healthy for bathing. I did all the usual activities one does on a weekend away in a tiny town buried deep in the valleys of Appalacia: ate lots of delicious food; visited the quaint 1940s-style Star Movie Theatre (still showing movies!); got a massage at Atasia; one of the town’s many spas; and judged the world’s largest and longest running water tasting competition. As I said, a typical weekend away.

So how can you judge water? you may wonder, as I did myself when I heard about the event. Well, with some difficulty, but there actually are subtle differences between waters of varying labels and origins. In terms of tap water, this makes some sense: the water that trickled into deep, deep aquifers thousands of years ago in, say Colorado, did not make the same journey that water in New Zealand made – and so, each has a slightly distinct taste. Purified waters are another story, and are much more challenging to distinguish. And for the carbonated waters, it’s tough to determine anything beyond the quantity of bubbles. Let’s just say there definitely is such a thing as too many.

Bay Weekly published my story on the experience, and also on how the tap water here in Anne Arundel County compares to the winners of the Berkeley Springs competition. Read on - - make sure you “digg” the story too. And welcome to the wonderful world of water!

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