“You get more flies with honey than vinegar” is an old American saying to motivate someone to have a sweeter disposition. Obviously, the person who first said this had never tried fruit or balsamic vinegars.
Take a walk through some of Germany’s kitchen stores or small distilleries in major shopping areas or through the cooking section of a higher end department store and you’ll find an assortment of fruit and herb infused oils and vinegars. One popular brand is Wajos (VAH-yohs) whose product list include dried herbal mixes for pasta and bruschetta, wine spritzers like honeydew melon and peach, and various tasty vinegars and oils that can add a little zip and zing to your dishes. There are some stand-alone shops, but none in our area. What I love about the Wajos website is that there are some really yummy and creative recipes posted on it. If you run it through Chrome, you should be able to see the recipe in the language of your choice if you don’t read German well.
There’s one other brand that I’ve also discovered at the Mainz weekly market (Wochenmarkt, VOH-ken-markt): Geschmack Sache, which translates roughly to “taste fine things”–and we did. I took my pal there during lunch since she’d never been to the market and we had a great time winding our way through the different food and produce stands, looking at all the lovely flowers, finally ending up around the prepared foods trucks. That’s where we found the Geschmack Sache booth.
There was another English speaker shopping there when we walked up so as we waited our turn, we looked at the different flavors to be tried. Vinegar tasting is a lot like wine tasting without the spit bucket, so it’s really easy to confuse your taste buds. Personally, I like fruity vinegars more than herbal so I tended to gravitate to sweet sticky tastes like fig and date or orange. Also, I wanted to try a liquor or a digestivo (Alter William, or Old William) and strangely, that helped cleanse my pallet.
We both really liked the different flavors so it was tough to choose what to try (see all the different choices above!). In the end, my pal and I both walked out of there with a couple of bottles each of different vinegars and I also topped it off with a bottle of 40 proof Old William.
Some of you may be wondering what to do with all this balsamic vinegar, aside from salad dressing. You can add it to water or juice for a sweet, tart, sour taste. I tried it and honestly, I wasn’t a big fan. BUT maybe I’ve got the recipe wrong. I recently came across this recipe for a fruit shrub from thekitchn.com that I may have to try.
You can add it to recipes for a bit of zing.
Or you can slice up some cheese, the stinkier the better, and drizzle it on top. That’s my fave way so far.
If you want to learn more about how “real” fruit vinegars are made (with wine, no doubt), read this article in the Washington Post.
If you want to try making your own, check this fruit-infused vinegar recipe from the kitchn.