The new gourmet delight – bottled sea water

Covering nearly three-quarters of the Earth's surface to a depth of up to seven miles, it is one of the most abundant natural substances and free to anyone who cares to scoop it up and take it away. Yet if one entrepreneur has his way, gourmet restaurants could soon start stocking their larders with sea water – and paying for the privilege.

Chefs eager to enhance the authentic taste of their bisques and bouillabaisses will soon have the opportunity to buy purified sea water from the Outer Hebrides. Launched at the Taste of Edinburgh festival yesterday, Acquamara claims to be the world's first designer sea water and will retail at £4.95 per three-litres.

It is the idea of Andy Inglis, a former United Nations official, who was inspired after helping his daughter research a project for her homework. He concedes that some people might be reluctant to part with a fiver for something they can get for nothing, but hopes the project will reap dividends for the local economy in the tiny Hebridean island of Berneray. There it is extracted from the sea and passed through a filter which removes any particles of sand, dirt and rust before being brought by tanker to Dunbar where it is tested to ensure it passes European standards for safe drinking water and then decanted into a wine-type box. "I think it's going to be seen as a bit cheeky, but if I can be a bit cheeky and create jobs in the Hebrides than I'm happy being a bit cheeky," Mr Inglis said.

Mr Inglis, 49, who works part-time for the Department for International Development, said it would be the aspiring MasterChef contestant that was most likely to buy the product.

"For those who like food done the proper way this is going to be a great product," he said. "For the sort of chef who gets up at 5am in the morning to go and source proper mushrooms, for that high-end restaurant market, it's going to be a must-have.

"We live by the sea, so I tried cooking a few things with sea water and I couldn't believe the difference it made in the flavours. It was remarkable. So I started to look around and see if this might be viable as a business and spoke to some people within the industry who seemed to think it would be possible."

Some leading chefs have already tried and liked what they have tasted of the new product, which has long been a feature of ancient sailors' cookbooks, as well as a staple ingredient in some of the world's best seafood restaurants. Noma, the Copenhagen restaurant named last month as the best restaurant in the world, offers langoustine cooked in sea water as one of its starters.

Roy Brett, head chef and proprietor at the Edinburgh seafood restaurant Ondine, was impressed after trying it. "The taste is amazing. What it does to food is remarkable," he said. "I've been cooking a lot of shellfish in it as well as other dishes, and it just gives them a fantastic edge, and a real salty tang of the sea."

Tom Kitchin, the Michelin-starred Edinburgh chef, said he was also attracted to the idea. "What could be fresher than storing and cooking with natural sea water from our Scottish shores," he said. The water can also be sprayed on salads and used to cook vegetables as a healthy alternative to salt.

A lot of bottle

*When King Henri II of France tasted water from Spa in the valley of Ardennes in Belgium, he believed it had healing qualities. He began exporting it in 1583 and bottled water was born.

*In 1789, the Marquis de Lessert had a similar experience in the town of Evian-les-Bains in south-east France, when he claimed the spring water cured his kidney stones. Local doctors began prescribing the "miraculous water" as a health remedy. The spring's owner began selling it in bottles in 1826.

*Last July, a small town in south-east Australia put itself on the map by outlawing sales of bottled water. Officials in Bundanoon cited environmental impact as the reason for the ban. They removed bottled water from the town's six shops and built public drinking fountains for people to fill reusable bottles.

Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebooks
ebookA delicious collection of 50 meaty main courses
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

    Recruitment Genius: Casual Visitor Experience Assistants

    £7 per hour: Recruitment Genius: To work within the Visitor Experience Departm...

    Recruitment Genius: Web Developer - Junior / Mid Weight

    £15000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: To support their continued grow...

    Recruitment Genius: Transportation Contracting Manager

    £33000 - £38000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A global player and world leade...

    Recruitment Genius: Hotel and Spa Duty Manager

    £18000 - £24000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: If you are friendly, sociable, ...

    Day In a Page

    Isis in Syria: Influential tribal leaders hold secret talks with Western powers and Gulf states over possibility of mobilising against militants

    Tribal gathering

    Influential clans in Syria have held secret talks with Western powers and Gulf states over the possibility of mobilising against Isis. But they are determined not to be pitted against each other
    Gaza, a year on from Operation Protective Edge: A growing population and a compromised and depleted aquifer leaves water in scarce supply for Palestinians

    Gaza, a year on from Operation Protective Edge

    A growing population and a compromised and depleted aquifer leaves water in scarce supply for Palestinians
    Dozens of politicians, bureaucrats and businessmen linked to Indian bribery scandal die mysteriously

    Illnesses, car crashes and suicides

    Dozens of politicians, bureaucrats and businessmen linked to Indian bribery scandal die mysteriously
    Srebrenica 20 years after the genocide: Why the survivors need closure

    Bosnia's genocide, 20 years on

    No-one is admitting where the bodies are buried - literally and metaphorically
    How Comic-Con can make or break a movie: From Batman vs Superman to Star Wars: Episode VII

    Power of the geek Gods

    Each year at Comic-Con in San Diego, Hollywood bosses nervously present blockbusters to the hallowed crowd. It can make or break a movie
    What do strawberries and cream have to do with tennis?

    Perfect match

    What do strawberries and cream have to do with tennis?
    10 best trays

    Get carried away with 10 best trays

    Serve with ceremony on a tray chic carrier
    Wimbledon 2015: Team Murray firing on all cylinders for SW19 title assault

    Team Murray firing on all cylinders for title assault

    Coaches Amélie Mauresmo and Jonas Bjorkman aiming to make Scot Wimbledon champion again
    Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - Vasek Pospisil must ignore tiredness and tell himself: I'm in the quarter-final, baby!

    Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon Files

    Vasek Pospisil must ignore tiredness and tell himself: I'm in the quarter-final, baby!
    Ashes 2015: Angus Fraser's top 10 moments from previous series'

    Angus Fraser's top 10 Ashes moments

    He played in five series against Australia and covered more as a newspaper correspondent. From Waugh to Warne and Hick to Headley, here are his highlights
    Greece debt crisis: EU 'family' needs to forgive rather than punish an impoverished state

    EU 'family' needs to forgive rather than punish an impoverished state

    An outbreak of malaria in Greece four years ago helps us understand the crisis, says Robert Fisk
    Gaza, a year on from Operation Protective Edge: The traumatised kibbutz on Israel's front line, still recovering from last summer's war with Hamas

    Gaza, a year on from Operation Protective Edge

    The traumatised kibbutz on Israel's front line, still recovering from last summer's war with Hamas
    How to survive electrical storms: What are the chances of being hit by lightning?

    Heavy weather

    What are the chances of being hit by lightning?
    World Bodypainting Festival 2015: Bizarre and brilliant photos celebrate 'the body as art'

    World Bodypainting Festival 2015

    Bizarre and brilliant photos celebrate 'the body as art'
    alt-j: A private jet, a Mercury Prize and Latitude headliners

    Don't call us nerds

    Craig Mclean meets alt-j - the math-folk act who are flying high