Zingerman's co-founder Ari met the Pofi brothers at their farm outside Rome two decades ago. They had a homemade vinegar they'd never sold and, of course, had never named. They just called it “vinegar.” It was outstanding, and he asked them to sell us some. It's been a hit—especially in our crew's kitchens—ever since.
It's made from Malvasia and Greco grapes that the Pofis use for wine making, employing an unusual production method called bruciarle. A thick cap called the "mother vinegar," which forms naturally at the top of the wine vat, is skimmed off annually and mixed with vinegar from the previous year to show the younger bacteria how to convert the wine to vinegar naturally. Aged for over a year in a couple of big chestnut barrels and never filtered, the final product has a cloudy appearance similar to unpasteurized apple cider. Technically it's a white wine vinegar, but the final color is more like straw.
Smooth and succulent, Pofi vinegar has a caramel flavor with hints of apricot and a sherry-like aroma. It’s not sweet. It’s been my house vinegar for a couple years, the one I always reach for when I’m making a vinaigrette. You can download the recipe below.
Mo's Basic Vinaigrette Recipe