I met Stephen Fried at our East Hampton Master Class this summer. I was too busy running around with wine bottles and gorgeous cheeses to chat much, but I got the important info–Steve was a friend of Fairway who was bringing us some fine, fine vinegar, any minute now.
Yesterday, something very exciting happened. The vinegar arrived, beautiful and ready to be drizzled lavishly, promiscuously, joyously.
Verrini Munari vinegars are yet another killer Fairway exclusive. Steve imports them direct from a family in Capri, near Modena, who’ve been making vinegar for generations on their 50 acres. A huge amount of tradition, technique, precision, care, and passion go into each bottle.
Each October, this vinegar-genius family harvests trebbiano and lambrusco grapes. They crush the gorgeous grapes to create MUST (mosto – the natural detritus left behind after grapes are crushed for their juice): one third will be fermented and become vinegar; one third will be cooked down to become syrupy balsamic; and one third is cooled to make grape ‘sugar,’ which will be added to the vinegar later in the process.
The ROSSO is from lambrusco grapes, the same grapes crushed for the now chic fizzy red wine. It is nuanced and tart-sweet. We have our own Fairway label Lambrusco vinegar, which is awesome and about half the price of Steve’s. Steve and I chatted about this–our vinegar is nothing to sneeze at, but his is even small-production, subtler, more refined. Fairway’s lambrusco is a catchy pop song; Verrini Munari a grooving, wild jazz tune. There’s a time and place for both, and both disappear lightning-fast from their bottles when I’ve got a stash in my kitchen cabinet. Lambrusco vin is good for anything, but it was MADE for salads.
The silky-smooth BIANCO is made from trebbiano grapes, and it’s crisp, clean, apple-y, and lovely. For salads, pasta, and adding life and brightness to any sauce or glaze.
And then there’s BALSAMIC ‘ORO’ made from both lambrusco and trebbianno grapes. This is a balsamic to blow you away, billowing with flavor and depth, thick and luscious and lingering. It’s made for nutty cheeses, vanilla ice cream, strawberries, Fairway’s fresh mozzarella. Enjoy!