A Treasured Creation: Nature-Made Amber Vinegar
Rows of black ceramic pots sit in the sun as rice and koji malt ferment inside. For more than a year, the enzymes will turn the mash into prized amber vinegar with only the gentlest interventions from the brewers. "Every pot turns out different faces," says vinegar artisan Sakamoto Hiroaki. "We try to listen to what the magical fungi are saying." We explore the centuries-old methods behind the making of Kurozu vinegar.
Brewers in the town of Fukuyama, Kagoshima Prefecture have crafted Kurozu vinegar for more than 200 years.
Ceramic pots provide an ideal habitat for the acetic acid bacteria essential to vinegar production. New pots, without the microbes, cannot be used.
It takes only 3 ingredients — rice, water and koji malt — to produce an amber vinegar.
Aged Kurozu has a nice acidic tang with a hint of sweetness.