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Contrex Natural Mineral Water

July 11, 2007
What it is: A natural mineral water from France, notably high in calcium and magnesium
How it comes: One-liter bottle and half-liter bottles in a six-pack
Where it is: At CVS, Target, Duane Reade, spas and specialty stores
Who it's for: Any water drinker who’s also looking to increase their calcium intake
Suggested retail price: $1.99, $5.99
Nutrition notes: A calorie free way to get calcium and magnesium
Category: Fabulous Food: Beverage bests

Bonnie: When invited on a European Great Springs Safari many years ago, I couldn’t resist. Not only would I get to sample waters at the source of four different springs, but I’d learn how each source affects the water’s taste and character, about the latest research in hydration, the “gastronomy of water” and hydrogeology itself. (The latter, a branch of geology concerned with movement of water underground through rocks or on the surface of the earth.)

After our transatlantic flight we boarded a charter flight to Epinal (France) followed by a short drive to the Ermitage Hotel in Vittel where we’d be spending the night. Our first real stop after the long trip: Vittel Spa for a relaxing afternoon.

We soaked in a mineral water filled pool while awaiting spa treatments–my favorite of which was a wet massage. I lay on a table under three shower heads spouting warm water; my masseuse—clad in a bathing suit—worked out the kinks from my journey. I only wish all my travels could end this way.

Leaving the spa relaxed, refreshed and rejuvenated, we stopped for a moment to sample different mineral rich waters.

I was hooked.

Some didn’t like mineral taste, but I did. My dietitian hat was on. My calcium-queen tiara too, especially when I learned how rich in minerals the waters naturally were.

One of the waters from Contrexeville, France naturally provided calcium, a necessary nutrient most Americans aren’t getting enough of (hence our osteoporosis epidemic). In fact, one liter provided 483 milligrams calcium (that’s almost half of what’s recommended in a day) as well as magnesium and other minerals. The minerals collect naturally as the water flows though geological formations to its source.

“Why don’t you export this to the US?” I asked.

“It’s a perfect calorie-free way to naturally consume necessary minerals.”

Europeans are used to—and seek—mineral rich water, while Americans would be put off by the taste, I was told.

I so disagreed. Some of the highly mineralized waters were probably too much for most Americans, but certainly not all of the waters. I did belabor the point throughout the trip.

In San Pellegrino (Yes, there is an Italian city northeast of Milan with that name.) water-expert (and now Santa Barbara-based radio-show host) Arthur von Wiesenberger led us through a tasting of ten mineral waters, sniffing, swirling and sipping just as we would wine. After all, water—just like wine—takes on the flavor of where it’s from (terroir in winespeak). Each water did have a different appearance, odor and mouthfeel. Each writer in the group was amazed how we each could differentiate those nuances.

After the tasting, we digressed for a moment from water to another liquid, popping the cork on champagne to celebrate not only San Pellegrino’s 100th birthday but one of my major ones too.

A few years ago, I learned that Contrex was being introduced in the US and opted to tell Supermarket Sampler readers all about this calcium-rich mineral water. I’ve been singing its praises every since to whoever will listen. For some it’s an acquired taste, for me it was infatuation at first calcium-rich sip.

Bryan: Acquired taste is right. I must say that I am impressed with the mineral content of this natural water; a half-day’s supply of calcium in an unenhanced bottle of water is pretty amazing! I generally prefer natural vitamins and minerals to those added artificially during production (also finding they absorb far better into the body). The one thing many of you may not be ready for is the subtle taste of this product. Contrex does taste like water, but with ’rounded edges’. The bottle is a great way to supplement your diet, drinking it with a snack or meal, but I wouldn’t find myself reaching for one after exercise or on a hot day. The minerals that add so much value to this water also create a flavor that lacks ‘crispness’ or ‘bite’. While these are not often things I’m looking for in my water, I notice when they are missing. Overall, Contrex is a fantastic supplement… though most likely I will continue to treat it as such, rather than as a replacement for my tap.

Eric: I was born and raised an athlete, as was my brother, but unlike him I tried my hand at a variety of sports. During my early years I competed mostly in swimming, and during my high school years I tried my hand at the field events of “Track & Field.” With a nutritionist as a mother, and a constantly training athlete for a father, I was always bombarded with the spiel of “eat your vitamins, minerals, proteins, calcium, blah, blah, blah” – the gist of which was, “stay healthy.” Not to say that I neglected their advice, but many of the sources for getting the daily amount of “health” comes at the expense of either taste, or as my brother so eloquently put it, the artificial pills that people have grown so accustomed to taking. I’ve tried Contrex water a few times, and I can agree that the taste is not the unique selling point of the product. It is however a source of nutrition for anyone that is lacking in providing their bodies with the proper daily nutrients. I for one am still a fan of chugging milk for my calcium (usually from the bottle when my mother is not around), but unfortunately it’s not the most conducive drink for exercising. If you have the chance, give this product a try – you have to remember that we’re not salesmen for the product, we’re just making sure that if you’re going to spend the money on a bottle of water, that you get the most bang for your buck.

 

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The water fountain at Vittel

 

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Yours truly in the study of hydration.

 

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Happy Birthday, San Pellegrino!

 

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Our group’s final luncheon (Arthur von Wiesenberger on the far right)

 

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16 Comments on “Contrex Natural Mineral Water”

  1. Pam Simmons Says:

    Hi Bonnie,

    A very interesting article. I especially liked the lesson in hydrogeology. It was so interesting I’m going to give this water a try; and I am very careful to get my proper calcium intake. Keep up the good work!

    Pam

  2. Bonnie Tandy Leblang Says:

    Readers of this site have been emailing me with some Contrex comments that I wanted to share.

    “Joan wrote: Is the Contrex water naturally sparkling? Or is there a sparkling variety? I’m trying to get my husband off Seltzer Water and on to mineral water. Thanks.”
    *****

    I responded that it’s not sparkling; but—seltzer-lover that I am—I use this mineral-rich water in my Soda Club Seltzer maker.
    *****

    Others wrote and asked where to find it.
    *****

    I responded — you can link to the manufacturer’s site from our Marketplace, click on Where to Buy — and insert your zip code.

  3. ktucker Says:

    To sing the Contrex praise a little further, beyond the calcium benefits, are the alkaline-producing effects of a quality natural mineral water. Whereas many American’s diets are heavily acidic, leaving the body much more vulnerable to disease, drinking natural mineral water as opposed to ‘purified’ bottled water will positively affect your internal ph balance. This product’s high level of natural mineral content provides a great way to balance out that morning pot of coffee.

  4. PChristen Says:

    I won some Contrex and the taste is crisp and refreshing and the best tasting water I have had to date.

  5. PChristen Says:

    I have been trying to buy some Contrex but can not find a store that sells it, I am in Florida

  6. PChristen Says:

    Have tried the zip code finder but no stores in my area :(

  7. Helene Says:

    PChristen – I can assist if you provide your city and zip code. Thank you

  8. PChristen Says:

    I am in St Petersburg Zip Code 33709.

  9. PChristen Says:

    I am still unable to locate any contrex in the stores I am in St Petersburg FL 33709

  10. Helene Says:

    PChristen — Please check out your local CVS store. They carry Contrex now. Thank you

  11. Joshu8a Says:

    Joshu8a…

    I was thinking the same thing…

  12. pamela Says:

    can a pregnant woman drink contrex or when prepraring to get pregnant

  13. beyonce Says:

    pamela Says

    can a pregnant woman drink contrex or when prepraring to get pregnant

  14. Bonnie Tandy Leblang Says:

    Pamela and Beyonce, I contacted Contrex (Nestle Waters) for you — and asked them to respond here on the site. But in the interim — my response would be absolutely it is fine for pregnant women, as it’s a natural product, from a water source in the earth that naturally has calcium and magnesium in it. And its a non-caloric source of that calcium. Enjoy.

  15. Suzie Gonzales Says:

    I bought a bottle of this water for $1.99 and did not notice a big difference from the other bottled waters I have purchased. Although I think it is a little pricey, I will continue to buy it.

  16. Tomoka A. Says:

    Where can I buy contrex water?
    or what is a reliable web site to order contrex water?
    If you can let me know I really appreciate it.
    Thank you

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