Gastronomy - Mineral Water

© Michelle Chaplow Most mineral water in Andalucia comes from the Alpujarras in Granada
Most mineral water in Andalucia comes from the Alpujarras in Granada

Mineral Water

Pick up or order a bottle of water in any supermarket or restaurant on Andalucia and look at its source. The chances are that it’s from Spain, but probably not Andalucia - which may seem strange considering the abundance of mountain ranges and natural springs in this region. Lanjaron in the Alpujarras (Granada province) is probably the most famous bottled water produced in Andalucia. The region also has a number of natural spas where you can bathe in spring waters rich in health-giving minerals, such as salts and sulphurs.

 

 

What is mineral water?

Mineral water is water that comes from natural underground reservoirs, free from contamination. It is usually bottled at source. The minerals and trace elements contained within are natural - they must not be changed and must be reported on the bottle.

Agua Mineral

is classified according to the quantities of the different minerals.

Mineralización muy débil (very light mineralization)

Less than 50 mg/l of minerals

Mineralización débil (light mineralization)

Less than 500 mg/l of minerals

Mineralización fuerte

More than 1,500 mg/l of minerals

Bicarbonatada

More than 600 mg/l of bicarbonates.

Sulfatada

More than 200 mg/l of sulphates.

Clorurada

More than 200 mg/l of chlorate.

Cálcica

More than 150 mg/l of calcium.

Ferruginosa

More than 1 mg/l of iron.

Acidulada

More than 250 mg/l of CO2.

Sódica

More than 200 mg/l of sodium (salt).

Magnésica

More than 50 mg/l of magnesium.

Fluorada

More than 1 mg/l of fluorides.

Agua sin gas (still water)

Agua sin gas is the actual water that comes from natural underground reservoirs via springs.

Agua con gas (fizzy water)

Agua con gas is carbonated water, also known as club soda, soda water, sparkling water, or fizzy water; it may be carbonated (have CO2 added) either naturally, coming out of the spring already with bubbles, or artificially.

Commercially, carbonated water is made by chilling filtered water to below 8°C, optionally adding a sodium or potassium-based alkaline compound such as sodium bicarbonate to reduce acidity, and then pressurizing the water with carbon dioxide. The gas dissolves in the water.

To be classified as ‘Agua Mineral Natural’ the water has to comply with certain criteria and be listed in the Spanish ‘Registro General Sanitario de Alimentos’ which is updated into the European Union Official Journal. The law in Spain that regulates ‘Agua Mineral Natural’ and ‘Spring Water’ for human consumption is Real Decreto 1798/2010, 30 de diciembre (BOE de 19 de enero de 2011). See also the Agencia Española de Seguridad Alimentacion y Nutricion (AESAN).

Other types of drinking water in Spain are:

  • Aguas de manantial or spring waters; these have not been demonstrated to be good for health by virtue of its mineral composition. Chemical composition may be changed and it is not obligatory to report composition on the bottle.
  • Aguas preparadas is drinking water from a spring, river or reservoir, which has been treated to ensure that it is fit for drinking.

Here is a list of commercial Andalucian Agua Mineral Natural brands. In Spain annual production is about 5,000 million litres.

  • Lanjarón - Named after the spring where it originates in the village of Lanjaron in the Alpujarras; it is known as “El Agua de Sierra Nevada”. The water can still be drunk free of charge from a spring in the village, where there is a balneario (spa). This is by far the best-known of Andalucian mineral waters, with an annual bottling production of 650,000 cubic metres. Lanjaron water is classified as mineralización débil and is good for diets low in sodium, and for preparing babies’ bottles and food. In June 2006 the company Aguas de Lanjaron SA ‘merged’ with Font Vella SA to become Aguas Font Vella y Lanjarón, S.A., with its head office in Barcelona; it is part of Danone. The company supplies 5% of the Spanish Market. Member of NEABE (Asociación Nacional de Empresas de Agua de Bebida Envasados).
  • Aguas de Mijas – the source is a spring locally known as ‘La Ermitica’, in the village of Mijas on the Costa del Sol. Member of NEABE*.
  • Agua Mineral Natural Alhama - the source is a spring in the spa village of Alhama de Almeria in the Sierra de Alhama, Almeria. The company is Alhameña de Hostaleria SL, which also runs the Balneario San Nicolas health spa in Alhama.
  • Agua Sierra Alhamilla - the source is a spring in the Spa near Pechina, Almeria in the Sierra de Alhamilla, Almeria. The company is Fuente Alhamilla SA and also runs the Balneario Sierra de Alhamilla health Spa.
  • Agua Mineral Zambra - located in the village of Zambra, near Rute in the Sierra Subbetica of Cordoba. The water is bottled by the mighty Grupo Leche Pascual SA from Valencia.
  • Agua Mineral Natural La Paz – Aguas La Paz is the water from ‘La Paz’ spring in the village of Marmolejo, Jaén. This village is known for the Balneario, on the banks of the river Guadalquivir, and near the Parque Natural Sierra de Andújar in the foothills of the Sierra Morena. El Manantial de Aguas La Paz was declared minero-medicinal in 1966. Bottling of the spring water began in 1979. Agua Mineral La Paz has a 'debil' mineral content clasification. This is known as diet water given that it favours diuretic and therefore ideal for those who have a tendency to develop kidney stones and those with gout, rheumatism, or digestive problems.
  • Agua Mineral Natural Sierras de Jaen
  • Agua Mineral Natural Sierra NATURA From the village of Los Villares in Jaen, by the company Sierras de Jaen SA, which is owned by Cerveza Alhambra and in turn owned by Grupo Mahou San Miguel.
  • Sierra Cazorla, Agua mineral natural from the Virgen de la Esperanza spring in the village of Villanueva del Arzobispo, Jean, in the Sierra de Cazorla Natural Park. From the company Agua Mineral Sierra de Cazorla Explotaciones Internationales Acuiferas SA.
  • AguaVida & Sierra Bonela are two brands of agua mineral natural that come from the ‘Fuente Mina’ spring at Casarabonela in Malaga The companies that bottle this water are Aguas Minerales del Sur SL and Aguas de Sierra Bonela SA respectively.
  • Sierra de Durcal, Granada – brand launched in 2008 from the village of Durcal in the Lecrin Valley of Granada province. The water is taken from a depth of 213m and has a stable temperature of 14.5 deg C. “Debil’ classification and low in sodium. The company is Aguas Minerales de Sierra Nevada SL.
  • Agua de Albarcin – from the Albarcin spring in Guadix, Granada, and one of the sources for the top European office water-cooler brand “Eden” (368 million litres per year in 16 countries). The company is Aguas de Albarcin SL.
  • Agua Nevada - from the spring of El Tesorillo in the village of Albuñán in Granada province.
  • Fuente Pinar - from the Guadalvida spring in the village of Villanueva del Arzobispo in Jaen province.
  • Sierra de Segura - from the Fuente Blanca spring in the village of Villanueva del Arzobispo in Jaén province.
  • Natura – from the Natura spring in the village of Los Villares in Jaén province.
  • Font Natura – from the Font Natura spring, in Loja, Granada.
  • Fontarel -  from the El Pilar spring on the Sierra Gorda and San Jorge mountain near Loja. 44 million litres of this water are bottled annually. The spring has a capacity of more than 240 million litres and a safeguard zone of 330 hectares. The company Hijos de Rivierra know for the Estrella Galicia beer brand bought the company spring in 2014

 

*NEABE is the Asociación Nacional de Empresas de Agua de Bebida Envasados.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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