After several years spent living in France and New York and numerous foreign journeys as a diplomat, the British born founder and owner of Octovnia returned to her home in the Polish countryside, located in the beautiful Dunajec River Valley in southern Poland.
The experience she had gained during her international travels and the pleasure of cooking dishes from fresh local produce, inspired her to consider the possibility of creating a unique product, based on fruits harvested from her own orchards and surrounding fields and forests.
This unique product was to be fruit vinegar, similar to the best that she had tasted in Europe and the United States. She spent a year travelling, tasting and learning about traditional methods of vinegar making before she started making 100% natural craft vinegars from prime local produce.
Octovnia’s products could not differ more from the harsh, industrially fermented, tasteless acids, the mass produced flavoured vinegars, including so-called “balsamic” vinegars, containing artificial additives, colours and preservatives, which dominate the market.
The French word vinaigre, from the words vin (wine) and aigre (sour), sums up the very essence of vinegar. Like a good wine, vinegar should be made from fruits of peak ripeness and quality. The process must take into account the sugar content and acidity of the fruit, since, together with their variety and growing conditions, these factors determine the quality and taste of the vinegar.
Also, like wine, vinegars need time to go through the complex process of natural fermentation and aging, allowing for the development of mild, fruity notes, whilst not losing their delicate aromas and brilliant colours.
Using the traditional Orleans method of production, Octovnia’s vinegars slowly achieve the ideal degree of acidity. This process takes at least several months.
Throughout the season, from late spring to autumn, we harvest the best local fruits, herbs and wildflowers.
The season begins with the production of vinegars based on fresh dandelion flowers or the first spring stalks of garden rhubarb.
Currants, sour cherries and raspberries, straight from the bush or tree, are used to create vinegars with wonderful fruity flavours, perfect in the kitchen, but also great in soft drinks and cocktails.
When summer turns into autumn, our orchards are plentiful in heirloom varieties of plums and apples, ready for picking and pressing.
Also, in autumn, the abundance of wild fruits in the Dunajec river valley keep us busy making vinegars from wild rosehips, sloes, elderberries, hawthorn berries and rowanberries. Foraged from surrounding fields and forests, far from polluting roads or industry, these wild fruits as used to make vinegars which are especially recommended for health and well-being.
Octovnia’s fruit vinegars are characterized by a complex bouquet of flavours and aromas. They have the most wonderful natural colours. Unpasteurized vinegars, naturally preserved by their acidity, have probiotic properties and a unique taste.