Şile bal sirkesi
The Sile Vinegar is made out of honey, and can be found in several countries around the Mediterranean Sea (namely in Italy, Portugal, France, Romania, and Spain), however, it is rare. On the Black Sea Coast, in the city of Sile, in northwestern Turkey, just 70km from one of the biggest metropolis on earth, Istanbul, this product can still be found in the local market, produced and sold by a few local households.
Sile honey vinegar, or Sile bal sirkesi as it is called in Turkish language, is unique for at least two reasons. The first being that it is made out of chestnut honey, or Şile kestane balı, a honey which is famous throughout Turkey and very renowned in Istanbul, and is also on the Ark of Taste. The region of Sile is indeed covered with forest areas, and the majority of these forests are made up by Oak and chestnut trees, from which the bees produce the chestnut honey.
The second reason that makes Sile Honey vinegar unique, is the use of indigenous home-made yeasts in the processing process, which ensures a slow yet delicate fermentation which can take up to 12 months to be completed.
The Sile honey vinegar is mainly used for dressing in salads, very commonly eaten in Turkey. The salads are prepared with many different vegetable greens, served as meze, the famous Turkish starters.