In a nutshell: Made from white Pineau des Charentes vinegar macerated with wild garlic picked in March when it first appears in the Charentes undergrowth.
This fragrant vinegar is made with white Pineau des Charentes vinegar and wild garlic picked in the Charentes undergrowth in March every year. The wild garlic is wilted and cooked with the white Pineau vinegar before further maceration with more vinegar. The result is an intense vinegar to use in vinaigrettes for vegetables (think tomatoes, peppers, carrots, leeks, haricot beans and lentils) and seafood salads using crab or prawns. Use it when making mayonnaise or for deglazing the pan after cooking pork, veal or lamb. Perfect also for BBQ's and marinades, drizzled over grilled fish or shellfish, such as langoustines, squid and fish.
We discovered the wonderful Fleuriet vinegars on a sourcing trip in France. Philippe and Françoise Fleuriet live in a charming old house in Rouillac deep in the heart of the 'Fins Bois' area, one of the six crus (delineated growth areas) of the Cognac region. The couple left their jobs in northern France 25 years ago to move to this quiet area. Their vinegar-making adventure began a decade ago when they accidentally created a vinegar mother out of Pineau des Charentes, the local aperitif made with wine fortified with a little cognac. Their production is small, ageing four-year-old white or rosé AOC Pineau des Charentes in old cognac barrels, each given names like 'Camille' and 'Pierre', in their vinaigrerie (vinegar cellar) next to the house. The vinegar then undergoes a slow, natural acetification for a further four or five months before bottling, unfiltered and without preservatives, or turning into a superb range of fruit flavoured vinegars. In their kitchen, they also use it to make small-batch additive-free confits, chutneys, jams and soups with home-grown seasonal heritage vegetables and fruits from their garden. Listed as one of top 100 French artisan producers by the prestigious Collège Culinaire de France - one of the best culinary institutes in the country founded by chefs like Alain Ducasse, Paul Bocuse, Joel Robuchon and Guy Savoy who all use their vinegar in their restaurants.