In a nutshell: The intense aniseed flavour of this superb Tarragon vinegar make it ideal for vegetable, chicken and seafood dishes and for making sauces such as Béarnaise and Beurre Blanc.
Our Mexican Tarragon Vinegar (Vinaigre de Pineau des Charentes à l'Estragon du Mexique) is made from white wine Pineau de Charentes vinegar and Mexican tarragon. AOC Pineau des Charentes, the famous and delicious local aperitif wine of the Cognac region, is aged for four years before acetification in old oak cognac barrels for a further four to five months. Then bottled unfiltered, it has a bright yellow colour, fruity flavour and aroma. It is then infused with the locally grown Mexican tarragon for 6 months before decanting into bottles.
Mexican tarragon (tagetes lucida) is often used as a tarragon substitute and widely used in Mexico and South America as a culinary herb. It was used by the Aztecs in their rituals and was one of the ingredients in the powder blown into the faces of their victims (hence one of its other names 'death herb') prior to human sacrifice!
But, don't let that put you off! The delicate acidity and intense aniseed flavour of this vinegar is perfect for vinaigrettes and sauces. Use it for Béarnaise and Beurre Blanc sauces and try it with cucumber, carrot, avocado and asparagus dishes. Add a splash into your bouillon when poaching salmon, langoustines and prawns. Its great also with all chicken dishes.
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.