Maison Renoux

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Michel Renoux grew up in the small village of Saint-Sulpice-la-Foret in the heart of Brittany’s cider country. Three things were naturally in his blood – the sea, food and cider vinegar. Making cider in Brittany is not just a pastime it’s a way of life. “My mother was a chef and so I was born more or less in the trade” Michel explains. “On my father’s side there was the navy, and on my mother’s side the cooking – I picked both worlds” After completing his national service in the French navy, Michel joined a passenger ship company travelling between Marseilles and the Pacific. When he landed in the port of Melbourne in the early 70s, he decided to stay. While he travelled back to France, and continues to visit every couple of years, Australia became home when he met and married Heather and had two children. Michel grows his own varieties of apples and hand crafts his vinegars in his cellar in Stanley which houses rows of 1000 litre tanks of cider being transformed into vinegar by the ‘mother’ which is a jelly like mass that floats on top of the cider. It consists of a thick web of acetic acid bacteria which protects the vinegar below from oxidising, creating a beautifully sharp vinegar with surprising sweetness Michel’s vinegars range from apple cider vinegar to pommo which is a darker, sweeter vinegar made from caramelised apples and then a much darker almost black vinegar called l’aigre-doux which is deliberately burnt turning the sugar of the apples black and creating a distinct sweet and sour taste which he explains is not appealing to look at but has a fantastic flavour.
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