Orleans vinegar comes from an old tradition of making vinegar, which started in the 14th century when Loire boatmen took barrels of wine to the French capital. There were some losses in the course of the journeys, and some of the wines would turn bad. It was then that the merchants started to make vinegar from them. This condiment was soon exported throughout the world, especially to the Netherlands, India and America. At the end of the 18th century, there were more than 300 vinegar producers in Orléans. The Maison Martin Pouret is today the last vinegar producer in the city to continue this tradition.
Made from wines from the Loire, Bordeaux and Burgundy areas, Orleans vinegar is a condiment with an incredible variety of tastes. It is kept in a barrel at around 28°C for three weeks, before being matured for nearly six months in oak casks. There are different kinds available, flavoured with shallots, garlic, basil or lemon.
With its very fine flavour, Orleans vinegar is often enjoyed in vinaigrette, with salads or raw chopped vegetables.