Celebrate National Vinegar Day on November 1st and savor some Spanish Vinagre de Jerez.
With increasing interest in bold, tangy flavors and complex aromas - it’s no wonder that Spain’s Vinagre de Jerez (Sherry Vinegar) is the foodie’s choice of the moment. Seeing as it’s National Vinegar Day on November 1st, let’s get our taste buds watering for Spain’s Vinagre de Jerez.
At the sherry wineries of Cádiz (near the Spanish-Portuguese frontera), the traditional casks for the aging of vinagre de Jerez are American oak barrels previously aged in sherry for years. Since the 1950’s, winemakers in the geographical Sherry Triangle have been developing Vinagre de Jerez as a gourmet staple, and it is now protected by its own Denomination of Origin. This includes - Vinagre de Jerez with a minimum ageing of 6 months, Reserva aged for 2-10 years, varietals such as Moscatell, Pedro Ximénez and the Gran Reserva aged for at least 10 years, to earn that prestigious tag.
There are several types of Sherry vinegar and uses in the modern kitchen. Depending on the grape type and ageing process, Vinagre de Jerez could have a sweeter taste (Pedro Ximénez for example), making it great for salads and pickles with cheeses. Good quality sherry vinegar has deep and nuanced aroma notes - anything from nutty to honey - adding depth to Spanish recipes like soups and stews. Furthermore, chefs across the country have been using this tangy elixir in innovative ways you never imagined.
Take for example, runner-up of the Star Chefs award Nicole Guini, pastry chef based in Chicago, Illinois. Nicole tells us she normally likes to “use it for quick pickles and in cakes to add a little bit of acidity”. She wowed the crowd with her vanilla ice cream, sherry vinegar-caramel ripple, sherry vinegar-honey roasted figs and hazelnuts. And how about the Sherry Vinegar from Spain recipe contest winner Tracy Chang, of Japanese fusion restaurant Pagu in Cambridge, Massachusetts with her top dish - spicy braised pork, hand-pulled biangbiang noodles, Vinagre de Jerez sauce, umami oil and sesame.
But it’s not just about the wonderful flavors that sherry vinegar will add to your dish. Add the health benefits, the US National Library of Medicine suggests that vinegar can lower blood sugar and blood pressure to say the least. Vinagre de Jerez is a must-have in your pantry!