2011 sofi Awards: Chaparral Gardens – Blackberry Balsamic

2011 sofi Gold Winner

Outstanding Salad Dressing

“I use it on everything,” says Chaparral Gardens’ Craig Clark of his sofi Gold–winning Blackberry Balsamic. In addition to founding the company, Clark and his wife, Cari, grow the ingredients and bottle the final product.

Chaparral Gardens Artisan Vinegars are crafted with handpicked fruits, herbs and vegetables grown on a 2-acre organic farm on California’s Central Coast. “Our philosophy is to have the smallest carbon footprint,” Clark says. “And to use as few resources as possible. It’s all about sustainability.”

To craft the vinegars, the Clarks place the fruits and herbs in small vats with an organic, kosher base vinegar and add the “mother” from the original batches. After several months of mild fermentation, and two additional secret steps to ensure locked-in flavors, the vinegars are ready.

Other products in the Chaparral Gardens line include Pacific Spice, made with vinegar, organic kiwi, citrus, ginger, chile and secret spices; Roasted Pepper Blackberry Vinegar made with organic peppers; Winter Ambrosia made with pear, apples, vinegar, cinnamon, cloves, cardamom and sugar; and Champagne Mimosa, which uses fresh California oranges fermented in Champagne vinegar.—Leska Tomash

How to Enjoy It: The sweet dressing is delicious in salads, on fruit, as a marinade or reduced down to glaze a favorite dish. Clark’s favorite use: reduced down to baste chicken breasts, in place of barbecue sauce.

MSRP: $15–$20/12.5 oz.

Website: cgvinegar.com

To learn about the sofi Awards competition, visit specialtyfood.com/sofi.


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