I took wife to Astrid y Gaston, Peru’s most famous restaurant. Founded by celebrity chef Gaston Acurio, it is one of the most esteemed restaurants in Latin America.
I knew it wouldn’t be cheap, but the final bill presented a surprise.
SURPRISE! $20 for water. Technically three large bottles of high-end water, but $20 of water nonetheless.
I noted the price of water while ordering, but we’re at a nice place so I didn’t make a fuss.
But I couldn’t help noticing that none of these three bottles were placed on the table. They only produced the bottle to refill my glass when I needed filling. No need to actually place an order for a second $7 bottle of water. They just automatically open another and continue filling you up.
It left me wondering if I drank all of the water in the last bottle. What if they refilled me and wife through the first two bottles, and then only poured one glass from the third bottle? What if there were most of the bottle left, representing maybe $6 plus the 15% tip I left? Shouldn’t I be able to take that to go? I mean, I was thirsty on the cab ride home.
My curiosity led me to the website of the brand of water served: Acqua Panna, imported from Tuscany, Italy.
From the website:
Geography, geology and climate combined with proverbial Tuscan savoir faire determine the uniqueness of all land products which are inimitable by nature. In other words, Tuscan cuisine is the expression of its territory with its impressive enological heritage and 455 typical products. Among them: extraordinary wines like Chianti, Brunello, Vernaccia, unrivalled extra virgin oil, known as the Green gold of Tuscany, the famous Chianina cattle that provides the Florentine steak, the crunchy Cantucci biscuits and the well-known pecorino cheese, just to mention a few.
In its turn, Acqua Panna mineral water is both the result of a magic and unique mixture of natural parameters and excellency of Tuscan people and the queen of the table.
Of course a $7 bottle of water comes in glass. The water certainly never touches anything as vulgar as plastic.
About the bottle:
Purity, freshness and transparency are all contained in a charming still mineral water bottle. Acqua Panna minimal and well-designed water bottle embodies the unchanging beauty of Tuscany as well as The Medici Family’s elegance and nobility, symbols of a long history. More than a simple bottled mineral water, Acqua Panna is a prestigious water, sign of fine dining all over the world.
I don’t want to come off as an uncultured hick. But I must say, it tasted like water. In fact, I’m not sure I could have guessed the brand in a blind taste test against my preferred brand in Peru or the United States. Twenty dollars of the latter is illustrated below.
I’d say Peru has come a long way. Rich as F%#!
I posted this pic on the Expat Chronicles Facebook page yesterday. An interesting comment:
It’s ironic. Latin America has been gentrified. Gringofication and world trade have escalated the cost of dinner for two to the equivalent of the monthly salary of a housekeeper. For years I was the king of conspicuous consumption in Costa Rica, but I found out too late that is was this type of behavior that made living in the third world more expensive than living in Miami.