Oakland's Camino Restaurant & Berkeley's Broc Cellars Uncork Vinegary Virtuoso to Dress Your Greens in Gastronomic Glamour

Oakland's Camino Restaurant & Berkeley's Broc Cellars Uncork Vinegary Virtuoso to Dress Your Greens in Gastronomic GlamourSource: Google Street View
Eileen Vargas
Published on November 22, 2023

In a toast to the art of fermentation and friendship, a fabled Oakland eatery has veered into a vivacious venture with a local viniculture virtuoso, crafting a red wine vinegar so robust it'll slap the bland right off your salad's leaves. The now-defunct but once-celebrated Camino restaurant, under the guidance of culinary connoisseurs Russell Moore and Allison Hopelain, has paired up with Berkeley's Broc Cellars, rolling out a limited-edition, five-month-aged red wine vinegar that turns salad dressing into a fine art, according to an announcement by Eater San Francisco.

The coveted Camino vinegar, which once elevated endive salads to the heights of gastronomic ecstasy as observed by Mark Bittman for The New York Times, is breaking away from its traditional recipe that mixed various natural California wines; this time it's infused with the exquisite flavors of Nero d'Avola and Valdiguié wines, hand-selected in collaboration with Broc Cellars's own Chris Brockway and Bridget Leary. Rising like a phoenix from the ashes of the shuttered eatery, Moore and Hopelain have transmuted the essence of eclectic wine remnants into an artisanal acid, crafted with love, a mélange of carefully curated wines, and now it's imbued with the panache of Broc's best barrels. Russell Moore, in a statement obtained by Eater San Francisco spoke to the thrilling collaboration and innovation.

True to Moore's vision of vinegar that packs a punch, Camino's latest concoction boasts a flavor profile that's as concentrated as it is charismatic—with a zing that suggests using a scant 4:1 ratio of oil to vinegar, unlike the watered-down tang of supermarket varieties. Capitalizing on the moment, Broc Cellars is finessing the final touches on an olive oil that's bound to make taste buds tango, and they're conspiring on yet another wine vinegar sensation, a Zinfandel variation currently aging gracefully in the comfort of Moore and Hopelain's home, slated for a springtime debut.

To the discerning palate, the collision of Camino's acetic alchemy with Broc's oenological expertise is not a mere mingling of old pals but a gastronomic revolution, crafted to elevate the everyday salad to a sybaritic experience. "I just don't want to hit you over the head with vinegar; I don’t think that tastes good," Moore explained via Eater San Francisco, waxing poetic on the essence of flavor balance and seeking redemption for the overused, overly sweetened balsamic vinegars of yore. And let's not forget, the velvet rebellion in a bottle is now up for grabs, just a click away on the Camino and Broc Cellars websites for those eager to drench their greens in the stuff of legends.