Hot, healthful springs and excellent drinking water come bubbling out of the earth in the Thermen- & Vulkanland in Southeast Styria.
Waste not, want not! The Thermen- & Vulkanland is overflowing with salubrious warm springs, bringing bathing pleasure and a sense of wellbeing to those that sink into its waters. It also boasts drinking and mineral water of a remarkable quality. The latter has been well established as a medicinal beverage for decades, but is also warmly championed by the culinary and gastronomy scene.
The amazing health benefits of mineral water have long been appreciated in the Thermen- & Vulkanland Steiermark region, which is full of the “joys of spring”, so to speak. The properties of mineral water were long ago known to the Romans, making it one of the oldest foodstuffs around. Medicinal mineral water first appeared in written records in East and Southeast Styria in around 1600, in the area around Bad Gleichenberg. Over time, numerous sources were tapped for drinkable mineral water. The healthy water is still used to this day, sold by a total of five regional mineral water producers (from seven different springs).
The water occurring in East and Southeast Styria is packed with beneficial minerals that may help the body recover from various ailments. Its most vital substances include calcium, magnesium and hydrogen carbonate. It is most commonly taken as a mineral water treatment, a tradition known as ‘drinking the waters’.
But, of course, enjoyment too is paramount in the Thermen- & Vulkanland. It is simply a fact that water enriches food and wine. People love it as an aperitif, where its gentle carbonation stimulates the appetite, as a light beverage between meals, as an elegant companion to wine or as a sulphate-rich digestive bitter.
Mineral water stimulates the taste buds and lets the tongue capture completely new aromas. It also rinses the palate, neutralises lingering flavours, and prepares the senses for new taste sensations. Not only does it replace the fluid lost through alcohol consumption, it can also bring out the character of a wine in some interesting ways. Highly mineralised water accentuates the tannins and acids in wine, whilst holding back its sweetness and the way it melts on the tongue.
The mineral water from the town spring in Bad Radkersburg is a true source of power thanks to its remarkable levels of magnesium. This extremely high magnesium content counteracts stress and encourages digestion; calcium is also good for getting the muscles to work optimally. The “Long Life” brand is a great natural supplier of electrolytes, while the balanced carbon dioxide content also boosts the body’s mineral absorption.
As the mineral water already emerges from the earth naturally carbonated, “Peterquelle” is only available as slightly sparkling. Its long journey through many different layers of rock could account for the key minerals it contains. One particular example is calcium – one litre of “Peterquelle” covers 20 per cent of your daily calcium requirement.
“Minaris”, the second brand to come from Deutsch Goritz, is a natural mineral water produced by Mother Nature, available in sparkling, mild and natural varieties. “Minor” contains fewer dissolved minerals and carbonic acid, so this mineral water is excellent for drinking as it is, as a mixer, or as a neutral beverage to pair with your food and drink.
The ubiquitous “Steirerquell” is Styria’s purest spring water. It focuses only on the essentials, with no added flavours. This spring water is suitable for any occasion – at home, in your leisure time, or at a restaurant.
Its high minerality gives “Sicheldorfer” medicinal water a very distinctive taste, which you will discover the moment you try it. It acts immediately against heartburn, and also has a positive effect on urinary stones, iodine deficiency and hyperacid gastritis, amongst other things. It is bottled directly at the Josefsquelle spring in Sicheldorf.
The “Johannisbrunnen” was first recorded as far back as 1678, making it the oldest acidulous spring to be used in Styria. The medicinal water is bottled directly at the spring in Hof bei Straden, and offers a beneficial, preventative and soothing effect thanks to the variety of vital minerals and trace elements it contains. It boosts the immune system and improves concentration and productivity.
“Rosenberquelle” spring water from Rohrbach am Rosenberg is described as “vitally digestive” and “naturally Styrian”. Recognised as a medicinal water since 1980 thanks to its light mineralisation, it has a health-promoting and invigorating effect. Rosenbergquelle spring water is charged with carbon dioxide, and is an acidulous drinking water.
Wine and water is a match made in heaven in every respect. There is a vast selection of “spring-fresh” partners in the Thermen- & Vulkanland – so what criteria should the ideal wine companion meet?
Wine connoisseurs want to savour their wine without interference, so the taste of the water should not be too pronounced when pairing it with this time-honoured beverage. High mineral contents are therefore not so advisable – this kind of water stands alone, is very healthy, and should therefore be consumed as a main beverage.
A good choice for wine is the “Steirerquell”, for example: pure spring water that is stripped back to its essentials. “Peterquelle” is good after eating, or as a drink in its own right. One bottle of this water is enough to overcome feelings of fullness very quickly. Thanks to its high magnesium content, the Bad Radkersburg product “Long Life” is a real powerhouse for combating stress; in combination with its calcium content, it ensures optimum muscle efficiency. The water bubbling out of the Johannisbrunnen has a purifying effect and is good for respiratory diseases and overacidification of the stomach. Which brings us back to food i.e. enjoying a meal with wine and water. The best combination depends on the characteristics of your chosen beverages. Particularly with white wine, carbonated water goes better with the least acidic varieties; still water makes the best partner for a red wine. If you take these factors into account, your wine and water will make an unbeatable pair – cheers!
In Austria – and particularly in Styria – we benefit from an incredible variety of valuable health tonics. The Thermen- & Vulkanland region is able to offer a local range of mineral waters that virtually no other region can match: a total of five regional mineral water producers today market this healthy water, which was first mentioned in written records in about 1600. The mineral water from East and Southeast Styria is a premium product, has a health-promoting effect, is refreshing, detoxifies the body, and stimulates the metabolism. It is bottled and produced entirely in Styria, and operations take an environmentally-friendly approach. This special quality is designated with the quality seal for “Original Styrian Mineral and Medicinal Water”