My Round: What's it all about, algae?

Enjoying a sprinkling of coral in your glass of water? You soon will be, if Mariella Frostrup has anything to do with it

This is surely the most imaginative celebrity product-endorsement in history. The product: Vivatap, a sachet of coral algae harvested off Norway and designed to make water taste better and contribute nutrients to your diet. The celeb: the heavily pregnant Mariella Frostrup, who has apparently shed her allegedly party-girl habits and taken up the role of a clean-living woman. And the meeting of Vivatap and Frostrup produces some very interesting results.

"Water can be one of the most refreshing drinks on this planet," Frostrup revealed at the launch of Vivatap. But she is wary of claiming serious credentials for endorsing her new-founded refresher. "I suppose I am not the most obvious candidate to be promoting water after a debauched past would suggest that another colourless liquid beginning with 'v' was to my taste. Let me assure you I am a changed woman. Ever since George Clooney taught me to hydrate while I dehydrate by mixing my vodka with water, I have become a convert to the benefits of hydration."

Being an ill-informed kind of guy, I had not known of Ms F's soft spot for any particular alcoholic beverage. But I feel fairly sure that she is the first person to be led to water by way of a vodka bottle. Especially under the tutelage of George Clooney. What surprises me more is the product she was involved in launching. I've seen a lot of new improved waters in my day, but this one is different. What's more, it's pretty impressive. The sachets contain three ingredients: the aforementioned algae; chitosan; and an antioxidant in the form of vitamin C. The algae contribute minerals and neutralise acid to bring the water close to neutral pH. Chitosan, derived from the shells of crustacea, has long been used as a water purifier. And the antioxidant removes chlorine.

Does this sound like moonshine? That's more or less what I thought. But I ran a test of Vivatap against my home tap water, both fresh from the spout and, after a resting period for chlorine to dissipate, found that it filled the first role of any intervention in human health: it did no harm. Caveat one: my tap water is delicious, with little chlorine flavour, and therefore not the best test for this product. Caveat two: take the sachet out after the recommended five minutes or the water may take on a strange taste. But if I lived in an area where the water is unsavoury, I'd certainly consider buying this stuff. At £2.99 for 18 sachets, it works out at just 8 pence a litre (for stockists, visit www.viva tap.co.uk or call 0117 959 7040).

An interesting health angle in the Vivatap story is its high calcium content, algae-induced. Jane Griffin, a sports dietician who spoke at the launch, says that calcium in water can play a part in getting this essential mineral into the diets of people who don't get enough from food or milk. And she is not a flag-waver for fancy water: she gets "irritated", she says, by the claims made by some companies for the mineral content of their products. "It would be cheaper to drink tap water and spend the extra money on better food."

This point is worth bearing in mind when dealing with another new entrant into the water race: Alps2O, a pure spring water from Switzerland. This one sells itself as a source of massive quantities of calcium and magnesium, both occurring naturally, and I have no reason to doubt them: the water tastes very strongly of minerals. Some people may like that; I do not. But even if I did, I would take note of Griffin's opinion that "it doesn't matter where the calcium in water comes from". So you may want to buy Alps2O for its flavour, but don't buy it because of any ideas about the superiority of natural calcium. And remember: if it's calcium you crave, there is always cottage cheese.

Top Corks: Beefy reds, ready for beef

Griffin Vineyards Merlot 2003, South Eastern Australia £4.99, or two for £7.98, Majestic Hefty, juicy, spicy plum fruits. Un-serious but a serious bargain at the promotional price.

MontGras Quatro 2002 £8.49, Unwins, www.everywine.co.uk A long-time fave. The foursome: Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec, Merlot, Carmenère, generously oaked. The result: substantial pleasure.

Barolo 1999, Terre da Vino £10.99 from £12.99 until end of July, Waitrose Youngish, cheapish Barolo - not always something you'd want to drink, but this one is impressively approachable right now.

Voices
Homeless Veterans charity auction: Cook with Angela Hartnett and Neil Borthwick at Merchants Tavern
charity appealTime is running out to secure your favourite lot as our auction closes at 2pm tomorrow
Arts and Entertainment
J Jefferson Farjeon at home in 1953
booksBooksellers say readers are turning away from modern thrillers and back to golden age of crime writing
Sport
Amir Khan is engaged in a broader battle than attempting to win a fight with Floyd Mayweather
boxing Exclusive: Amir Khan reveals plans to travel to Pakistan
News
Stacey Dooley was the only woman to be nominated in last month’s Grierson awards
mediaClare Balding and Davina McCall among those overlooked for Grierson awards
PROMOTED VIDEO
Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
Life and Style
ebooksA superb mix of recipes serving up the freshest of local produce in a delicious range of styles
Voices
Joseph Kynaston Reeves arguing with Russell Brand outside the RBS’s London offices on Friday
voicesDJ Taylor: The great tradition of St Paul and Zola reached its nadir with a worker's rant to Russell Brand
News
Twitchers see things differently, depending on their gender
scienceNew study shows that birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends...
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Caroline Flack became the tenth winner of Strictly Come Dancing
tvReview: 'Absolutely phenomenal' Xtra Factor presenter wins Strictly Come Dancing final
Life and Style
A still from the 1939 film version of Margaret Mitchell's 'Gone with the Wind'
life
News
Xander van der Burgt, at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew
scienceA Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there
Arts and Entertainment
British actor Idris Elba is also a DJ and rapper who played Ibiza last summer
film
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Food & Drink

    Investigo: Finance Analyst

    £240 - £275 per day: Investigo: Support the global business through in-depth a...

    Ashdown Group: Data Manager - £Market Rate

    Negotiable: Ashdown Group: Data Manager - MySQL, Shell Scripts, Java, VB Scrip...

    Ashdown Group: Application Support Analyst - Bedfordshire/Cambs border - £32k

    £27000 - £32000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Application Support Analyst - near S...

    Recruitment Genius: Class 1 HGV Driver

    £23000 - £27000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This successful group of compan...

    Day In a Page

    The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

    The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

    Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
    From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

    Panto dames: before and after

    From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
    Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

    Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

    Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
    Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

    Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

    Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
    The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

    The man who hunts giants

    A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there
    The 12 ways of Christmas: Spare a thought for those who will be working to keep others safe during the festive season

    The 12 ways of Christmas

    We speak to a dozen people who will be working to keep others safe, happy and healthy over the holidays
    Birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends, new study shows

    The male exhibits strange behaviour

    A new study shows that birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends...
    Diaries of Evelyn Waugh, Virginia Woolf and Noël Coward reveal how they coped with the December blues

    Famous diaries: Christmas week in history

    Noël Coward parties into the night, Alan Clark bemoans the cost of servants, Evelyn Waugh ponders his drinking…
    From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

    From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

    The great tradition of St Paul and Zola reached its nadir with a hungry worker's rant to Russell Brand, says DJ Taylor
    A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore: A prodigal daughter has a breakthrough

    A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore

    The story was published earlier this month in 'Poor Souls' Light: Seven Curious Tales'
    Marian Keyes: The author on her pre-approved Christmas, true love's parking implications and living in the moment

    Marian Keyes

    The author on her pre-approved Christmas, true love's parking implications and living in the moment
    Bill Granger recipes: Our chef creates an Italian-inspired fish feast for Christmas Eve

    Bill Granger's Christmas Eve fish feast

    Bill's Italian friends introduced him to the Roman Catholic custom of a lavish fish supper on Christmas Eve. Here, he gives the tradition his own spin…
    Liverpool vs Arsenal: Brendan Rodgers is fighting for his reputation

    Rodgers fights for his reputation

    Liverpool manager tries to stay on his feet despite waves of criticism
    Amir Khan: 'The Taliban can threaten me but I must speak out... innocent kids, killed over nothing. It’s sick in the mind'

    Amir Khan attacks the Taliban

    'They can threaten me but I must speak out... innocent kids, killed over nothing. It’s sick in the mind'
    Michael Calvin: Sepp Blatter is my man of the year in sport. Bring on 2015, quick

    Michael Calvin's Last Word

    Sepp Blatter is my man of the year in sport. Bring on 2015, quick