Historically vinegar is the oldest and most famous gastronomic condiment.

It probably appeared together with the use of wine in about 6000 B.C. as it is a natural by-product of alcoholic fermentation. In Egypt it was known from the 4th Millennium, whilst in Mesopotamia it was known from the 3rd Millennium. The Ancient Greeks used vinegar widely in cooking and they were the first to discover the differences in the qualities of vinegar according to the place of origin. The best quality of vinegar was said to come from Sphettos (Attica), from Kleonai (Nemea), Knidos, a Doric town in Asia Minor, Dekeleia (Attica) and from Egypt. Vinegar was referred to by Athenaeus as “the only condiment which the people from Attica called sweet”, while Ktesias thought it the best seasoning. The

Ancient Physicians Hippocrates and Galen used it for medicinal purposes.

If the Ancient Greeks differentiated vinegar according to its place of origin, the Romans did so, according to the nature of the vinegar and the way that it was seasoned. The Roman authors Coloumella, Cato etc, referred to it often and its way of production. Pliny writes that “in vinegar there are reputable virtues without which we would lose many of our comforts in a civilized society. The Romans used flowers, herbs and fruit to season various types of vinegars which they produced not only from grapes but also from other fruit like figs, apples and mulberries.

In modern times, vinegar and acetification which produces it were the objects of research by Stahl, Liebig, and Becher etc. Stahl was the first researcher to name the layer which forms on the surface of vinegar, “mother of vinegar”. The problem however, for the cause of all these phenomena was only finally discovered by Pasteur. This famous chemist, who opened the way not only to microbiology but also to the science of fermentations in foodstuffs, dedicated special research to acetification. In his thesis “Annotations on Acetification”, he refers in detail to the subject of vinegar production and the conditions under which it is carried out. The traditional method of producing vinegar was mainly systematized in the area of Orleans, France, and that is why it is globally referred to as the Orleans Method.

In the 1880’s industry started using the method of quick acetification which greatly diminished the cost of production. However the quality of the product cannot be compared to the one of traditionally produced vinegar.