Paul Howard's Craft Vinegar from Orkney – Time for an Acid Trip

Paul Howard, from Wine Alchemy, posted an in-depth review of our full range of vinegar.

There are some great recipe ideas and pairings, which Paul has kindly allowed us to repurpose here. Enjoy!

Bere Malt vinegar.  Barrel #2,  5% acidity
It’s dark brown in colour, malty in taste but softer and more subtle than say Sarson’s. It’s less tart, more rounded, with a greater depth of flavour and a hint of sweetness but finishes nicely sour.

Useful with foods that already have big flavours. Make a classic vinaigrette, say for artichokes. Pour a little into finely shredded cooked cabbage for a kind of instant sauerkraut and serve with roast pork or sausages (thanks, James Martin). Adds a savoury kick to non-alcoholic cocktails.

Highland Park Malt vinegar.  Barrel #2,  5% acidity
A deep brown malt colour, but there’s a definite oloroso savouriness as a kind of bass note, with top notes of heather honey. Powerful and perhaps a little more aggressive than the Bere malt. Roast Lamb benefits from a few drops, or deglaze your roasting pan with it for a delicious gravy. Perfect dripped onto Haggis (including vegetarian versions), or black pudding. Add a couple of drops for a superb bacon sandwich.

Rosehip vinegar.  Barrel #1,  5% acidity
It’s a delightful mid-amber colour. A particularly excellent balance of acidity and sweetness, supported by oloroso sherry notes and hints of rose petal. Much more subtle and delicate flavours here. Perfect for a middle-eastern salad along the lines of Lebanese Fattoush. Alternatively, drizzle some over ice cream.

Rhubarb vinegar.  Barrel #1,  5% acidity
A rosé-pink colour, lighter and more lifted than the rosehip, perhaps offering the most delicate flavours here. The rhubarb shows as delicately acidic red fruit with a green vegetable note. How about adding to fruit crumbles, including apple and rhubarb, or add a few drops to fresh strawberries!

Honey and Meadowsweet vinegar.  Barrel #2,  6% acidity
There’s a higher acidity with this vinegar, necessary to balance out the additional sweetness. A light yellow colour, some residual sweetness remains, with a definite floral aroma. Enhances the flavours and cuts the fat in charcuterie, from Salami to Chorizo to Smoked Duck.

Sugar Kelp vinegar.  Barrel #2,  5% acidity
Light silver-yellow in colour there’s distinct umami pungency, softened by some sweetness and with sea-salt mineral quality. Perhaps this is the most subtle of all the kinds of vinegar here. Very successful when used with a variety of seafood. Whelks and cockles spring to mind, but Sugar Kelp vinegar is excellent with dressed crab and scallops. As for oysters, use this and forget mignonette! Add a drop to your G&T too!

And finally
It’s probably fair to say that the most significant limiting factor with using these kinds of vinegar is imagination and the willingness to experiment. For example, if Balsamic vinegar and Parmesan is an acknowledged classic match, the exploration of craft vinegar and cheeses requires investigation! An article for another day!

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