Champagne vinegar is the perfect vinegar for recipes where you want a hint of acidity and great flavor.
What Is Champagne Vinegar?
Champagne vinegar is a light-colored and delicately flavored vinegar whose flavor is reminiscent of champagne. The character of the vinegar is light, crisp and acidic with vanilla overtones. The vanilla flavor comes from the oak casks in which the wine used to make the vinegar is aged. The same grapes that are used to make Champagne, (chardonnay and pinot noir), are used to make Champagne vinegar.
Champagne is a wine produced using the methode champenoise in the Champagne region of France. Typically, Champagne is made from a combination of pinot noir and chardonnay grapes. There are some Champagnes, called blanc-de-blancs that are made strictly from the chardonnay grape.
True Champagne comes only from Champagne,France; however, there are many sparkling white wines that are made from the same grapes using the same method. These wines are classified as sparkling wines rather than Champagne, although the grapes and the winemaking method are the same.
How is Champagne Vinegar Made?
The process of making vinegar involves introducing yeast into a liquid to ferment the liquid, and then adding Acetobacter bacteria to convert the alcohol into acid. Champagne vinegar is therefore made from champagne to which bacteria is added in order to convert the alcohol in the champagne to acetic acid.
Making vinegar, including champagne vinegar, is an ancient process that is fairly difficult to achieve. While it is possible to make champagne vinegar at home, chances are it will be of a much lower acidity than commercially available champagne vinegar.
Uses for Champagne Vinegar
The uses for champagne vinegar are numerous. The delicate flavor is especially good in salad dressings. It is also used to make marinades for light proteins such as chicken and fish.
Truffled Champagne Vinaigrette
This vinaigrette is excellent on a salad of spring greens or tossed with grilled or steamed asparagus.
- 2 tablespoon of champagne vinegar
- 1/2 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
- 4 tablespoons white truffle oil
- 3 tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil
- Fresh cracked black pepper to taste
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- In a small bowl, whisk together the vinegar and lemon juice.
- Whisk together the truffle oil and the olive oil in a glass measuring cup.
- Pour the oil in a thin stream into the acid, whisking constantly, until incorporated.
- Whisk in salt and pepper to taste.
Walnut Oil Champagne Vinegar Vinaigrette
This is an excellent vinaigrette for salads of fresh greens.
- 1/4 cup champagne vinegar
- 1 tablespoon finely minced shallot
- 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
- 1/2 teaspoons salt
- Fresh cracked black pepper to taste
- 1/2 cup lite olive oil
- 1/4 cup walnut oil
- In a small bowl, whisk together vinegar, shallot, mustard, salt and pepper.
- Whisk together olive oil and walnut oil in a glass measuring cup.
- Pour oil in a thin stream into the vinegar mixture, whisking constantly, until combined.
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- 1 tablespoon Herbes de Provence
- 1 clove of finely minced garlic (or pressed through a press)
- 1 tablespoon champagne vinegar
- 1/4 tsp sea salt
- Fresh ground black pepper to taste
Whisk all ingredients together and use as a fish marinade. Seafood only needs to marinate for about 15 to 30 minutes in the refrigerator. Discard marinade used to marinate the fish.
Making Up Your Own Marinade or Vinaigrette
It is easy to make up your own marinade or vinaigrette using champagne vinegars. The basic ingredients in vinaigrette are:
- 3 parts oil
- 1 part champagne vinegar
- 1-2 tablespoons of fresh or dried herbs and spices
- salt and fresh black pepper to taste
Always combine the vinegar and herbs and then slowly whisk in the oil. Salt and pepper should be added at the end so that you can taste the vinaigrette and adjust seasonings as needed.
Buying Champagne Vinegar
You can find champagne vinegar at a well stocked gourmet grocery store. You can also order it online from World Pantry. Champagne vinegar is versatile and adds a delicious, almost provoking flavor to your dishes.