So it's no surprise that I love vinegar. And a few years ago I happened upon a lovely couple who would rock my world. I was at a Thanksgiving craft show, perusing the gourmet food tent. There were so many vendors with so many lovely things to try. Spreads and jams and sauces and chocolate and cookies and... vinegar. Not your average flavour enhanced vinegars that are everywhere (shouldn't raspberry vinegar actually be made from raspberries?). This was the real deal. Small batch, home made, properly fermented vinegar. I was drawn to one called Ale and Rum, if I remember correctly. It was apparently made with Smithwick's Ale, and it was like the punchiest malt vinegar you've ever tasted. My taste buds exploded. Wow, was it amazing! I was hooked. I forget what else was offered that day, as the varieties have changed and evolved over the years, but from that day nearly 10 years ago, I have been a loyal customer of Mr. Vinegar - aka Roger Lambert and his wonderful wife Joyce.
If you go to their website (mrvinegar.ca) you'll see Roger and Joyce's smiling faces first. Then you'll read a bit about what makes their vinegar special. Words like "small batches" and "static fermentation" share space with "premium" and "international awards." But this isn't a huge corporation. It's a cottage business, run by a couple with a passion for quality and innovation. From their original offerings, they've played with ingredients and created some amazing varieties of vinegar. Among my favourites are the "Rapture of Raspberry" and Peach Chardonnay. The "Barley Wine," which is their malt vinegar is the best thing fish and chips ever met, and while pricey (you have to inquire about the price and availability), Roger's Maple Syrup Vinegar is a sweet/tart offering that is out of this world and worth every penny. It is a showstopper on a salad of mixed greens, dried cherries or cranberries, toasted nuts and Feta cheese!
Why am I writing this? Because I am passionate about food, and about local food. And Mr. Vinegar is a local (Hamilton) producer of top quality vinegar. It is a company that I am proud to support and promote.
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