In all cultures where alcoholic fermentation was used, vinegar was also discovered. It is known that exposing alcoholic drinks to air for a long period will transform the alcohol into vinegar.
It is important to know that in Europe in the past most vinegars were made from fruit, wine and beer. Nowadays apple, grape must and wine-based products are the most popular (see haute cuisine in this respect, too).
The Italians are the uncrowned kings of balsamic vinegar from grape must, which is acknowledged even in Tokaj. However, the range includes specialities such as wine vinegar with quince or with apple and cinnamon. The first documentation of Italian vinegar dates back to the 16th century, so we could say that this ‘genre’ started there. It is good to know, if you would like to know more that vinegars from fruit have the strongest tradition in German-speaking countries. The most well-known being cider vinegar, a basic ingredient in gastronomy, although vinegars from various berries are also popular in the area. Artisanal producers also create further specialities like vinegar from asparagus or tomato.
We should also mention Spanish sherry vinegar from Jerez which started to conquer the world; however, the oldest vinegar in the world is rice vinegar from the Far East, which is made from rice wine.
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