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?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

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

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Food & Drink

    Ashdown Group: Print Designer - High Wycombe - Permanent £28K

    £25000 - £28000 per annum + 24 days holiday, bonus, etc.: Ashdown Group: Print...

    Recruitment Genius: Business Travel Consultant

    £20000 - £26000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: With offices in London, Manches...

    Recruitment Genius: Customer and Brand Manager

    £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Customer and Brand Manager required for ...

    Ashdown Group: Systems Administrator

    £25000 - £35000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Systems Administrator A...

    Day In a Page

    Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

    How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

    Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
    Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

    'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

    In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
    Tunisia fears its Arab Spring could be reversed as the new regime becomes as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor

    The Arab Spring reversed

    Tunisian protesters fear that a new law will whitewash corrupt businessmen and officials, but they are finding that the new regime is becoming as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor
    King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

    Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

    Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
    Who is Oliver Bonas and how has he captured middle-class hearts?

    Who is Oliver Bonas?

    It's the first high-street store to pay its staff the living wage, and it saw out the recession in style
    Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

    Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

    However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
    60 years of Scalextric: Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones

    60 years of Scalextric

    Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones
    Theme parks continue to draw in thrill-seekers despite the risks - so why are we so addicted?

    Why are we addicted to theme parks?

    Now that Banksy has unveiled his own dystopian version, Christopher Beanland considers the ups and downs of our endless quest for amusement
    Tourism in Iran: The country will soon be opening up again after years of isolation

    Iran is opening up again to tourists

    After years of isolation, Iran is reopening its embassies abroad. Soon, there'll be the chance for the adventurous to holiday there
    10 best PS4 games

    10 best PS4 games

    Can’t wait for the new round of blockbusters due out this autumn? We played through last year’s offering
    Transfer window: Ten things we learnt

    Ten things we learnt from the transfer window

    Record-breaking spending shows FFP restraint no longer applies
    Migrant crisis: UN official Philippe Douste-Blazy reveals the harrowing sights he encountered among refugees arriving on Lampedusa

    ‘Can we really just turn away?’

    Dead bodies, men drowning, women miscarrying – a senior UN figure on the horrors he has witnessed among migrants arriving on Lampedusa, and urges politicians not to underestimate our caring nature
    Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger as Isis ravages centuries of history

    Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger...

    ... and not just because of Isis vandalism
    Girl on a Plane: An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack

    Girl on a Plane

    An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack
    Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

    Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

    The author of 'The Day of the Jackal' has revealed he spied for MI6 while a foreign correspondent