Tuesday, January 8, 2008

The Ultimate Organic Vinegar

This will be my first- and favorite- product endorsement. I consider myself really lucky for having had the privilege of meeting the very amiable and beautiful owner of the company, Mrs. Linda Corsiga, who formerly held a post at the World Bank regional office and is now full time entrepreneur. I met Tita Linda at a trade fair (her product has won trade awards, and she has also had guested in many business talks, interviews, features, locally) while doing research for my post- graduate paper on international food and beverage trade of local products. Additionally, we realized that we come from the same province in the Bicol region, so there were quite common threads.

There are many types of vinegar in the market, and for most coconut- based vinegars, the coconut juice is used. But the ultimate organic vinegar actually comes from the unopened flower of the coconut.
This unopened coconut bud is full of potent liquid. When you cut it across, a sweet- tasting fluid gently oozes out and this is gathered as drink- the so- called “tuba”. The tuba is a traditional drink in provincial Philippines back in the days, but ever since the introduction of alcoholic beverages from large companies, this has become a dying art.

Favorably gathered early in the morning, the tuba juice is so pure that it is highly perishable- on certain conditions it can get spoiled (turn sour) in a matter of less than five hours. When it sours, then it can no longer be enjoyed as a drink- that’s how it becomes a vinegar. But the fresh tuba, I like its taste so much. Sweet, a little milky-bubbly sometimes, and tastes like no other else.

To become vinegar, the tuba has to undergo periods of fermentation. After harvesting liters and liters of the coconut- flower sap (yes, the tuba) they are placed in clean barrels to age, to become fine vinegar. Like wine, the longer this vinegar ages, the better the taste becomes.

Then after aging, the vinegar is pasteurized prior to bottling. Pasteurization kills certain organisms, so this makes the product extra clean. They are afterwards filled into sterilized bottles, flavored, then cap- sealed.
The flavorings- ginger, lemon- grass, honey, garlic and chili- are all natural. Tita Linda says she never uses anything synthetic in her products. Making them even more decorative, you could actually see colorful chilies, lemon grass stalks, garlic cloves, and ginger strips in the mixture. For the honey, she uses the raw wild type, meaning, the bees are not fed with synthetic sugar but are the type that really suck the nectar of flowers.

I have tried the vinegar variants on various foods myself. I am lucky because every time we see each other, Tita Linda always have a bottle present for me. The chili is just great as dip to fried foods like anchovy tempura, crispy crablets, and dried fish. The unflavored variant, with stews. The honey- laced, with salads. This is the same vinegar in my previous happy pomelo recipe. Also, when placed over crushed ice and added with a little water, the honey- flavor tastes somewhat like wine. And sometimes when I go semi-hypochondriac (imagining my own illnesses), I just swallow a few spoonfuls, get a little high, and my mood is back. (Even my sister’s ex chugs it straight from the bottle) . In a chemical analysis, the vinegar was found to have high levels of inositol, a cancer- fighting ingredient also found in apple- cider vinegar. (But sans bias, I like this one over apple cider, taste- wise)

Anyway, this latter part is purely business. (This mad blogger is also a business student, though). The ultimate organic vinegar is available abroad, the US was the pioneer importer, but is now also making waves in Singapore, Malaysia, and certain Chinese territories.

Visit the following sites:
Smart Supply and Services, LLC, USA
Email: smart@ptd.net

Also available in Metro Manila Supermarkets.

Feel free to contact the owner herself:
Mrs. Linda R. Corsiga
Email: sorsogonfoods@yahoo.com
Mobile: 0918 634 6010
Tel. #: (63- 2) 427 2227

There. Tagay!


Anonymous said...

Thank you for your little expose, it is very instructive. You don't know how much I want to try this vinegar now, the company should hire you as their public relation. Good job!
I will check out the links and see what companies carry the product in the U.S.

It actually inspired me a recipe! :-) I will tell you all about it once I put it on paper. Although I didn't try the product I can picture it matching certain ingredients. More later...

Liza said...

Zen chef is right, they should hire you. I don't think I've seen these vinegars in the supermarket, o siguro hindi ko lang tinitingnan mabuti. The next time I shop for groceries hahanapin ko yan. Would love to try those.

Take care and have a nice day ;)


foodhuntress79 said...

ZC, must -try for the adventurous taste. My country produces the best coconuts in the world and 60% of the world's demands therefore can control prices (what's the relevance? :) I am selling my country- the gov't should pay me for this! hehe :) Anyway, it's good.

Liza, they're available at Unimart (Greenhills), Robinson Supermarkets, I think also Rustan's. Then Gourdo's. Thanks.

Cheers :)

Sidney said...

I visited her farm. I was not able to meet her because she was attending a food fair in Manila.

I did a little series about the use of the coconut tree:

Linda said...

Foodhuntress, thanks a million for featuring my vinegar.

Zen chef/Liza, Foodhuntress is one kind-hearted soul who helps me promote my vinegar gratis et amore.

Zen chef, I wish you would give my vinegar a try. I look forward to your recipe using this wondrous part of the unopened inflorescence of the coconut.

Liza, my 5 variant-vinegars are available in Rustan's/Shopwise, Gourdo's (Promenade, The Fort, Greenbelt 2, Trinoma), Robinson's (Galleria, Manila, Pasig), Unimart Greenhills, Makati Supermart Alabang, Seafood Exchange in Market!Market! and the Organic Naturally Shop at 52 Esteban Abada, Loyola Heights, Q.C.

Sidney, I wish I were there when you visited my farm/plant. Hope to see you during your next visit.