Organic Cider Vinegar wins Great Taste Golden Fork

Food NI member Natural Umber has won the Golden Fork for Northern Ireland in this year’s finals of the Great Taste Awards, organised by the UK Guild of Fine Food, for its Organic Apple Cider Vinegar.


Based near Dungannon in Tyrone, the cider vinegar was launched in January and features a unique fermentation process that maintains the natural sweetness of apples.


The vinegar was developed by Mackle Apple, one of the biggest growers and processors of apples in the UK and Ireland. It achieved three gold stars in the Great Taste Awards, a first-time entry.


The Golden Fork for Northern Ireland, sponsored by Invest Northern Ireland, was presented to Michael Mackle, managing director of the family-owned Mackle Apple, at a gala dinner in London.


The Mackle family business operates among the most modern apple processing plants in the British Isles, located at Wisbech in Cambridgeshire and near Dungannon. Located near Moy, the Tyrone operation was also totally refurbished in 2012. Both are close to the company’s apple orchards including classic Armagh bramleys.


Since launching in late January, the company says, Natural Umber has proven especially popular with the health industry. Demand is said to be soaring as more customers discover this delicious vinegar and the word spreads on-line.

The Umber identity reflects the distinctively dark colour of the unrefined liquid. The name comes from terra d’ombra, or earth of Umbria, a mountainous region in central Italy.

Raw, organic, unfiltered, Natural Umber contains ‘Mother’ of vinegar. Made using only organic apples, cider vinegar is naturally full of a complex structure of good bacteria and enzymes known as ‘Mother’, believed to bring enormous health benefits. The ’Mother’ has a cobweb-like appearance. This bacteria is gut-friendly and is often considered the most nutritious part of the apple cider vinegar.

Ripe, freshly crushed, apples are fermented slowly and passed through a rigorous process to develop the final vinegar product. The crushed apples are exposed to yeast to start the alcoholic fermentation process, and the sugars are turned into alcohol. Bacteria added to the solution further ferments the alcohol and turns into acetic acid.

The product has already been listed by Amazon and Yumbles as well as a number of retailers in Northern Ireland. It’s also on the shelves of Framar Health stores, for example, in Belfast. The company is now seeking to develop business in Britain and the Republic of Ireland.