WHAT IS VINEGAR?
Wine vinegar is one of the most widely used condiments in Italy. It is obtained from the fermentation of wines that bear certain characteristics.
Vinegar is rich in many high-energy organic substances that invigorate and stimulate the body. Furthermore, vinegar flavors foods and helps with digestion, as it triggers the production of gastric juices in the stomach.
On the market, vinegar is available in different varieties, classified according to color (white, rosé or red) and by flavoring (herbs, spices, fruit, etc.).
For the artisanal production of vinegar, it is essential to start with a good wine that has an alcohol content of about 10% vol. if this number is higher, acetification becomes more difficult (alcohol inhibits the growth of bacteria), whereas, if it is too low, the vinegar will have a poor taste and will not preserve correctly.
To make vinegar, you will have to put it in a barrel or in a small glass carboy, which you will leave open.
At a temperature of 25-30 degrees, acetification occurs naturally over 10-15 days. However, the final product will actually be ready in about a month.
Once the wine has turned into vinegar and you are ready to pour some out, you will have to replace the same amount of vinegar that you draw with an equal amount of wine to the container.
The finished product may look and taste different from one season to the next, but it will still be all natural.
To get vinegar in a shorter period of time, all you have to do is add to the wine the so-called "mother of vinegar", the result of bacteria fermentation. It is a viscous and gelatinous substance that can form in any unpasteurized vinegar.
To produce the “mother” quickly, fill a 4-liter (1 gallon) container with one liter of good wine and a quarter liter of good vinegar, then close the container. Be sure to allow the liquids to breathe daily for one hour or so, to allow good oxygenation and, therefore, the process of acetification to happen.
AROMATIC WINE VINEGAR
Flavored wine vinegar is obtained by adding to the product an infusion of herbs (up to 5%, by law) or by adding flower extracts.
Alternatively, herbs are directly added to the vinegar, so that the liquid absorbs the flavors of the herbs during maceration.
IN THE KITCHEN
Vinegar is commonly used as an ingredient in the preparation of dishes, especially in vinaigrettes, or as a condiment for fish and salads. It is also used in the process of marinating, a traditional cooking technique consisting of immersing cooked or raw food (in this case, thinly sliced) in vinegar for a variable amount of time.
Several of our chef friends – including Alberto Basso and Piergiorgio Siviero, just to name a few - used vinegar in the preparation of their dishes, created especially for Insolito Panettone. The chefs marinated or seasoned one or more ingredients with either wine vinegar or apple cider vinegar. Would you like to find these recipes? Here they are:
Igles Corelli - Pancetta and Panettone skewer served with pistachio sauce