In restaurateurs’ technical jargon, “service” is used to designate all phases that make a client’s stay at the restaurant efficient, seamless and enjoyable. Service, therefore, does not consist only of presenting guests with beverages and food, but includes an entire series of tasks that must be performed before they arrive and after they have left the restaurant. Every detail of water service must therefore be done with great attention and care. A few hours before opening the restaurant, and in any case before each service, it's necessary to ensure that an adequate number of bottles of still and sparkling water are perfectly intact and clean, discarding those whose labels are damaged or missing, and using a damp cloth to carefully clean those that are spotted, dusty or smudged. The bottles are then placed in appropriate refrigerated areas so that they can reach the proper serving temperature (8- 10°C for S.Pellegrino and 10- 12°C for Acqua Panna).
Among the preliminary service phases are the mise en place, that is the accurate setting of the table, which requires great attention and precision. Two different water glasses may be used, one for still and the other for sparkling water. These are placed in the upper central section of the setting, above the place card or above the napkin, somewhat separated from the wine glasses. Moving from right to left, first we position the one for still water and then the one for sparkling water. Arranging the glasses in this manner makes serving water an easier task. Both glasses, which have been inspected for perfect cleanliness, should be on the table, turned upright, when the client arrives. Remember that water glasses should remain at the clients’ disposal until they have left the table. One of these two glasses may be removed only in the event that a guest makes the clear, specific request to have only one of the two kinds of water for the entire duration of the meal. As soon as the clients have been seated at the table, it is best to offer them water, asking which brand and which type they prefer to quench their thirsts or whet their appetites while they are selecting their food and wine. Only at a later point will the rules of harmonization, as explained previously, be applied.
While pouring the water, precise instructions should be followed. The water should be presented in the original glass container and not decanted into a carafe, as this would lead it to lose some of its organoleptic properties. In addition, the clients should know what product they are consuming and also be allowed to read the label. As is true for a bottle of wine, when taken to the table a bottle of mineral water is to be “presented” and its organoleptic properties are to be described briefly. The bottle should then be opened in the presence of the client, with care being taken not to damage the bottle neck. The cap is to be placed on a small dish so as to allow for later recapping of the bottle, if required. To pour water, the bottle is held by its lower section, ensuring that the label remains perfectly visible to the client. The guest’s glass should be filled a single time, around 2/3 of the way up. Serving is done preferably on the client’s right. Empty bottles are to be promptly replaced. If it is necessary to keep the bottle chilled, use a chiller. One final recommendation: when a guest comes to the restaurant for the first time, do not delve too far into possible matchings and the characteristics of the water you are offering unless the client himself requests this. Generally, clients are already on the spot about which wine to select. Guide the client and direct him in the selection of the mineral water with discretion, ensuring that he perceives the different organoleptic properties in the two products as well as the pleasantness of the various matchings.
This text is taken from The S.Pellegrino and Acqua Panna Water Codex, a book written by international sommelier Giuseppe Vaccarini and Claudia Moriondo (Doctorate in Food Preparation Science). With this book S.Pellegrino & Acqua Panna studied and codified the guidelines, the best techniques and tools to conduct water tasting, with the aim to create a common language for everyone who whish to explore this topic.
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