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Do you pay for water at a restaurant or bar? The lawyer answers – Italian cuisine reinvented by Gordon Ramsay

La Cucina Italiana


Do you pay for water at the restaurant or bar? Except for bottled water, if it’s microfiltered or tap water, or just a glass, does it cost anything? Think, for starters, of the glass of water that accompanies the coffee at the counter. Different countries have different customs, it seems, also because not all bars serve water with coffee. Among those who do, there areis who applies a symbolic surcharge (it happens rarely, but it happens), then there are those who always serve it whenever you order an espresso, whether at the counter or at the table, without charging additional costs. Who is right?

Do you have to pay for the water that accompanies the coffee?

In short, do you pay for water at the restaurant or at the bar? «As far as bars are concerned, that glass of water that accompanies the espresso is a real form of courtesywidespread only in our country. If everyone does it their own way it is because there is no legal rule: Each business is free to decide whether to charge or not“, says the lawyer Alessandro Presicce, president of the Lecce section of Adoc (Association for the Defense and Orientation of Consumers). «What matters, for all drinks and foods offered by public establishments, and therefore also restaurants as well as bars, is that the cost is indicated on the menu, specifies the expert.

Can a bar force you to buy a bottle of water while refusing to give you a glass?

The issue of “water at the bar” is broader, however.and in reality it is independent of coffee. It sometimes happens that some bars do not serve water in glasses but only in bottles and the examples, although we trust that they are exceptions to the rule, are there. «Even in this case the public establishment is free to act as it deems fit because there is no legal provision regarding this matter: serving water in a glass as already mentioned remains a courtesy that the bar can decide or not to do. The moment it puts the cost of its products in black and white on the menu, it does not break any rules”, continues the lawyer Presicce.

Is there a limit to the cost of water?

«There is no difference between bottled, tap or microfiltered water: it is all left to the free marketand therefore customers are free to choose whether and what to buy, even if the prices are sometimes exaggerated”. Because – and this is certainly another exception – It also happens that water is charged at a high price, especially in the height of summer in tourist locations. The reason is simple, always the same: «There are no longer regulated prices, not even for water, specifies Alessandro Presicce.

Do you have to pay for tap water in restaurants?

And the tap water at the restaurant: “It must be paid if the restaurant decides to make us pay for it, and the important thing is that it always indicates the cost on the menu,” repeats Presicce. Of course, managers have to pay costs, even for tap or microfiltered water, which also requires a specific system and maintenance. But do these costs justify the prices we customers have to pay?

The hope is that something will change also because the European Union has expressly asked the member states to introduce ad hoc measures: the Packaging and Packaging Waste Regulation just approved by the European Commission calls for the implementation of policies that encourage public establishments, canteens and catering to serve tap or microfiltered water at a minimum price or for free in reusable containers. Of course, it is a much broader area than the one we started from, but it is a starting point for improvement anyway: if we consumers together with managers learned not to waste resources, we would all gain financially as well. In the meantime, the water that accompanies the coffee at the bar can still be an excellent exercise, as lawyer Presicce points out «Ask the bartender that the glass is made of glass: When the water that accompanies the coffee is served in disposable cups it is also a huge waste of resources.”

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Is coconut water good for you? The nutrition expert answers – Italian cuisine reinvented by Gordon Ramsay

La Cucina Italiana


Fresh, fragrant, sweet, refreshing and light: thecoconut water it would seem to be the ideal drink for the summer. Is it also good how you talk about it on social media? We asked the nutritional biologist Concetta Montagnese, researcher at the CNR Institute of Food Sciences. «Coconut water is that clear liquid contained in coconuts, fruits of the Cocos nucifera plant, in an early stage of maturation (no later than seven months), when it has not yet been absorbed by the pulp and when the nut is still green. The fruit – an oval drupe or a fleshy fruit, containing a single seed – must not be damaged: if it has these characteristics, it can contain between 200 and 1000 ml of liquid.”

What are the benefits of coconut water

The expert explains to us that coconut water is made up of 95% from water. «There are approximately 100 ml 2.5 grams of sugar: a modest amount. Coconut water is low in protein and fatwhich are almost absent, but it has a high content of potassium, sodium and magnesium and B vitamins and vitamin C. It contains no cholesterol, fiber, lactose or gluten. It is also suitable for celiacs and those intolerant to lactose.” Naturally, the benefits described are typical of the natural drink, that is, extracted directly from the walnut and bottled, without added sugars and artificial substances.

Coconut water is very thirst-quenching and, thanks to its rich potassium content, it is also a good rehydrator. In fact, it is used a lot by athletes: the low sugar content and the high quantity of potassium make it an ideal supplement after prolonged physical exercise. «There is a study conducted on a group of cyclists who used this drink during sports performances, explains Montagnese. «Even compared to other sports supplements, coconut water – to which sodium and carbohydrates had been added – gave very positive results.

Regarding health effects, studies have been conducted on rats which seem to demonstrate a beneficial effect on reduction of cardiovascular riskon the reduction of bad cholesterol and triglyceride levels and anti-inflammatory effects, “but targeted studies are needed to confirm these properties in humans too”.

Preliminary results of a study have shown that coconut water had anti-inflammatory effects in patients with ulcerative colitis (but always as an adjunct to therapy): «One hypothesis is that it has an important activity on the intestinal microbiotapromoting the growth of good bacteria”, says the nutritional biologist, who suggests trying adding it to smoothies or shakes, or to prepare porridge.

Does coconut water make you lose weight?

Many of the virtues attributed to it, however – from the ability to make people lose weight to that of increasing the sense of satiety – have not been scientifically proven.

What are the contraindications of coconut water?

Are there any contraindications? «Due to the nutrients it contains, intake should be avoided in cases of kidney failureand the Italian Kidney Foundation suggests its cautious use even in healthy subjects because it increases urinary potassium”, says Montagnese, “The key word is always the moderation: containing so many minerals, even coconut water could alter the balance of the body.”

Water and coffee: which before and which after? The expert answers – Italian cuisine reinvented by Gordon Ramsay

La Cucina Italiana


Water and coffee: which one do you drink first and which one do you drink after? And then, is drinking water always necessary in this case? After all, when you go to a bar there are no rules: there are those who serve it (usually in the South) and those who don’t, or those who only serve it natural or only sparkling. Yet there is a rule. In fact, there is more than one rule. The first already clarifies many things: «A glass of water should always be drunk before coffee”says Mauro Illiano, professional taster, founder of “Napoli Coffee Experience”, member of the board of experts of the Slow Food Coffee Coalition and, among other things, editor of the first guide to Italian coffees and roasters.

When do you drink water with coffee?

First water and then coffee, therefore, and it is not a matter of taste or preference. «Water – explains Mauro Illiano – cleans the oral cavity. Except for the first coffee in the morning, provided it is drunk on an empty stomach, during the day coffee is often drunk after eating or drinking something else. With a little water you eliminate any possible contamination that could affect the tasting experience: you can perceive all the scents of the coffee, both through taste and smell.”

What is the purpose of water with coffee?

The tasting of coffee, in fact, is not limited to the moment in which we drink it: it continues afterwards, and also through the aroma of the blend as well as through its flavour. «After drinking coffee, its lipid part – which is the same that remains on the cup or on the walls of the spoon – also remains in our oral cavity and its scents then return retronasally, sometimes even for an hour. It is one of the many pleasures that coffee gives. Drinking it with your mouth clean from a sip of water is a simple way to not deprive yourself of it”, Illiano further points out.

Why shouldn’t water be drunk after coffee?

On the contrary, obviously, all this does not happen if water is drunk after coffee: «TheWater aids swallowing and therefore if you drink it after coffee it makes this pleasant sensation disappear says Illiano. However, if it often comes naturally to drink after drinking the cup, there is a reason: «It happens when the coffee is not good: it is burnt or too bitter for example. In these cases needing to drink is a natural and unconscious reaction: it serves to cleanse the mouth of unpleasant flavors and odors. It is precisely for this reason that it is often said that drinking water after coffee, when you are on the balcony of the bar, is rude towards the barista: he could interpret it as a way to tell him that he did not prepare us the cup we would have liked to drink .

Still or sparkling: which water to drink with coffee?

Among the things to know for optimal coffee tasting, there is also that What makes the difference is the water: when you drink it before coffee, it must be natural. «A low-mineral or sparkling water alters the approach to the palate, enhancing the hardness. That is: it makes the coffee taste more bitter if it is bitter, or more acidic if it already tends towards sour.”

Should chocolate be eaten before or after coffee?

Not just water, however: not infrequently, especially at the bar, coffee is served with chocolates or biscuits. What to do in these cases? «Except for particular pairing experiences between food and coffee, they should not be eaten before or after because they alternate the perception of the taste of the coffee: a very bitter chocolate can make the coffee perceived as less bitter than it actually is, and vice versa. A biscuit is even worse because it is generally very sweet: the shock of flavors that can result risks ruining the experience.”

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