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Renaissance fair of Éguilles (Bouches-du-Rhône, France).

French supermarkets heave with varieties of vinegar. Vinaigre de vin rouge (red wine vinegar) is the most popular, along with vinaigre de cidre (apple cider vinegar), vinaigre à l'estragon (tarragon flavoured vinegar), vinaigre de Xérès (sherry vinegar) and fruity vinaigre de framboise (raspberry vinegar).

Some French vinegars are aged in oak barrels—vinaigre d'Orléans, vinaigre de Reims, vinaigre de Bordeaux, vinaigre de Beaune, vinaigre de Banyuls and Baume de Bouteville—French balsamic vinegar.

Italian balsamic vinegar (vinaigre balsamique) is readily available as well, although it’s harder to find the real McCoy, made in Modena, and expensive. Vinaigre de malt or malt vinegar (Sarson’s) is usually available in the British section of the supermarket.

To remove nasty limescale (calcaire) from your kettle use vinaigre blanc, vinaigre cristal or vinaigre d'alcool (usually located on the bottom shelf in big plastic bottles).

The classic vinaigrette is vinegar and oil (usually olive), salt and pepper, and often a spoonful of mustard.

Sauces and condiments

Text © Dana Facaros

Image by Georges Seguin (Okki)