Posted On: 10/01/2017
On my list of passions that donít matter, sparkling water ranks high. With passion come many gratuitous opinions on bubble characteristic and flavor quality, but in my daily eenie-meenie-miney-mo game of La Croix, Perrier, Pellegrino, I really just want one thing: Topo Chico.
It may seem like the next fickle hipster favorite, and it is. But Topo Chico has been around for more than a hundred years, bottled in Monterrey, Mexico, since 1895. I first encountered it at taco trailers and Mexican grocery stores in my Texas college town. After moving to St. Louis, I thought my love was lost and resigned myself to imperfect taco pairings forever Ė until Mexicoís favorite made it to the Midwest this summer.
OK, yes, at some level, water is water. But Topo is a sparkling mineral water with a rocky, salty undertone that makes your lips feel like youíve been swimming in the ocean. In comparison, Pellegrino and Gerolsteinerís barely there bubbles arenít worth noticing. And the Italian Ferrarelle is so light on carbonation that it tastes like a can of La Croix left out overnight (weíve all been there). Where La Croix has a harsh, almost spicy sparkle, Topoís rush of big, round bubbles breaks on your tongue with exhilaration, not sharpness.
Topo Chicoís grapefruit and lime flavors are mild, naturally tart and taste real. As a general rule, if you hate fakey flavors, itís best to stick with citrus versions of any bubbly. But Topoís grapefruit blows even Perrierís elegant, mid-sized bubbs out of the water. Where most waters lack any aroma, Topo Chico has sweet grapefruit on the nose, and a full fruit flavor without bitterness or sweetness on the palate. The lime is so mild and free of pithy bitterness it has a lemon-lime vibe with that same strong presence on the nose and across the palate from start to finish.
If youíre the kind of person who keeps a stack of La Croix boxes under your desk or has to leave for a bubble run after cracking open the last Dasani Tropical Pineapple (no judgment), itís time to meet the Aztec princess.
The Wine and Cheese Place, all locations, wineandcheeseplace.com
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