I’d been looking for a really good North American cider vinegar for so long I can’t remember when I started. It’s crazy that it should be so hard to find. Cider vinegar was once a standard ingredient in kitchens across the continent.
After almost giving up, I actually happened upon a very nice one made in the Monteregie region of Québec. The business was started by Pierre Gingras, a third-generation apple grower. Today the company is run by the Levasseur family, who have been growing apples and making vinegar for nearly 40 years. The process starts by crushing only whole, hand picked apples (no windfalls are used nor are scraps or scrapings from previous pressings) from their own orchard. The juice is allowed to convert to vinegar slowly and naturally and then spends two years in French oak barrels, where it mellows and matures.
Unfiltered and unpasteurized, it really does deliver true apple flavor. Perfect for salads, slaws, pickles and preserved vegetables. At Zingerman's Roadhouse restaurant, this vinegar is the base for our eastern North Carolina barbecue sauce.