Decoding flavour and aroma compounds in hand-crafted vinegar products

The Slow Vinegar Company is a Yorkshire-based producer of finely crafted wine vinegars, made from seasonally available fruits and botanicals, homegrown, sourced from local farms, foraged or obtained through the crowd farming scheme.

The company slowly transforms fresh seasonal produce using an age-old tradition of two-stage fermentation into unique-tasting wine vinegar. The twelve-month maturation process allows the aroma and flavours to develop, adding depth and complexity to the product’s taste.

Sarah and Andrew du Feu, the directors of The Slow Vinegar Company explained:

Our process is slow and careful, allowing both the alcoholic and acetic fermentations to gradually develop the complexity and depth of flavour we are after.

The Slow Vinegar Company has enlisted the Biorenewables Development Centre (BDC) to identify the flavour profiles of its vinegar range. The flavours and aromas produced by the microbes during the fermentation process are diverse chemical compounds. Maintaining a balance between these compounds is an essential part of product development that ensures the right proportion of sweet and sour is present in the final batch along with the flavour of the original ingredient.

Pre-funded support from the BDC’s Bioeconomy Growth Programme provided the company with a better understanding of the vinegar flavours, and related the flavours produced to specific chemical components.

Raymond Sloan, the BDC’s lead technologist explained the approach:

We used our state-of-the-art analytical facilities to generate a chemical profile of the vinegars and linked flavours and aromas with particular components using specific databases. We were able to see a highly complex profile of compounds present in the Slow Vinegar products, that distinguishes them from commercial wine vinegars and are responsible for the distinctive flavour and aroma that makes these special products worth seeking out.

For Sarah and Andrew, the results from the trial evidence their passion for tasty, artisan products, achieved by years of development and testing. The flavour profiling results will allow the company to confidently ‘describe’ the vinegars to both chefs and home cooks alike, giving them the confidence to pair, flavour match and use the vinegars to create delicious recipes.

Sarah and Andrew added:

Working with the team at BDC has been an enlightening experience, to be able to analyse our wine vinegars so expertly is invaluable for our product knowledge.

It is wonderful for us to have our methods affirmed in this way, and to be able to shout loudly that our vinegars are distinctly different from other vinegars produced using industrial processes. We can’t thank Helen, Raymond and the team enough. It has been fantastic to receive this support as a relatively young business and has given us a big confidence boost.

 

Notes to editor:

This project has received funding from the England European Regional Development Fund as part of the European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme 2014-2020

The York, North Yorkshire and East Riding (YNYER) LEP awarded a grant of £1M to the BDC as part of the Local Growth Fund (LGF) support which funded the equipment used to carry out this project. For more information visit: https://www.businessinspiredgrowth.com/funding/local-growth-fund/

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