Based in the centre of Orléans where nearly 300 vinaigriers have been operating since the 19th century, Martin Pouret is proud of its unique heritage and is ready to carry on the grand old tradition of the Master Vinaigriers!
In Orléans the history of vinegar and the Master Vinaigriers is closely tied into that of the River Loire. During the Middle Ages this majestic river was one of the major transport routes providing Paris with all sorts of products including fine wines from the Loire Valley and Bourgogne.
Upon arrival the wines which had "peaked" (i.e. where the alcohol had turned into acetic acid) over the course of the journey were unloaded and used as raw materials by the many artisanal vinaigriers and moutardiers set up in the areas around the Loire quays. For many centuries vinegar and salt were the only means of preserving foodstuffs, vinegar in particular being greatly in demand although the manufacturing methods were quite empirical and more often than not poorly adhered to. Therefore in 1580 by letters patent the King of France acknowledged one of the first confraternities in France, the Vinaigriers and Moutardiers of Orléans, setting the basic manufacturing method for Orléans vinegars. The purpose here was to promote the expertise acquired by artisanal vinaigriers whilst providing purchasers with a seal of quality, as it were. The Vinaigriers and Moutardiers of Orléans were then set up with producers who wanted to enter having to be sponsored and demonstrate their expertise to colleagues. In the 18th century the vinegar industry in Orléans reached its apex with around 300 different artisans operating in the city and surrounding areas, producing 80% of the vinegar consumed in France via the traditional method.
It is here, in 1797, where the Maison Martin Pouret's story begins. Incorporated in the Bannier suburb of the city, this family business began to develop its trade by producing Orléans-style vinegars and since then six successive generations have taken the helm of the company. Each has had to overcome the challenges of their respective periods while maintaining the same desire to carry on the traditional methods established in Orléans for the production of vinegars and mustards. It was in the 1960s when products were first marketed under the Martin Pouret brand and in response to consumers' preference for new and varied tastes in the 1970s, the first range of flavoured vinegars was introduced. During the eighties and nineties and the era of hyper-industrialisation in addition to the globalisation of taste which would have a drastic affect on artisanal foodstuffs in France, the Master Vinaigrier Martin Pouret managed to buck trends and flourish using traditional manufacturing methods, becoming the last remaining artisanal vinaigrier in Orleans.
In the new millennium the authentic taste of Martin Pouret condiments have seduced chefs and gourmands all over France, products of an unprecedented legacy!