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Malt Vinegar

762 of 1160 nominations


Malt Vinegar

Is this an icon?


Malt Vinegar

Who can bear the thought of crisp-battered cod and the perfect, soft-centred chip without a generous splash of malt vinegar to provide an extra burst of flavour? No self-respecting chippy is without the obligatory bottle of malt vinegar on the counter, along with salt and perhaps tomato ketchup. An unmistakably English product, malt vinegar is manufactured from sprouted and fermented barley and flavoured with woods like beech and birch. Unlike French vinegar, it has nothing whatsoever to do with wine.

The word vinegar comes from the French, "vin" meaning wine and "aigre" sour. All vinegars are made through fermentation, and a process whereby alcohol is converted by bacteria into acetic acid. However offputting that sounds, fish and chips at least wouldn’t be the same without it.

Photo: Maria Gibbs


Your comments

You can't have chips without vinegar. I've travelled quite a lot including many British Commonwealth countries and England (along with the rest of the UK) seems to be the only country which puts malt vinegar on its chips. That must make it an icon

Frank Baynham

The only country to put vinegar on fish and chips? "Nay, nay! Not so, but far otherwise!" There are plenty of fish and chip shops around the U.S, and every one of them offers malt vinegar. I'm a Yank from the west coast. I love fish and chips, but couldn't bear to eat them without malt vinegar. Catsup? Ugh.

I too now live in Canada, but for 26 years of my life lived in Nelson, England and although it may be common in NS, it isnt in Alberta and further more when you see it in the supermarkets it is located in the import aisle and also when you see anything pickled with malt vinegar it is called English Style. So if it is not seen by English people to be English its certainly seen by food manufactures in countries where there are Expats, to be a uniquely English way of pickling.
Anthony Lister

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I nominate the red pillar box.

Donna Spencer