Balsamic vinegar condiment
Balsamic vinegar is a gourmet condiment defined as: an intense, viscous, and aromatic vinegar of Modena, and Reggio Emilia, Italy locale. Balsamic vinegar is made from white Trebbiano grape juice and must, aged in wooden barrels for a minimum of 12 years. The phrase, ‘Balsamic vinegar,’ is a translation of Italian: aceto balsamico.
Gourmet balsamic vinegar is the traditional flavored vinegar often used in Italian food and recipes. It is commonly used as a salad dressing ingredient when combined with extra virgin olive oil. Balsamic vinegar also thrives as a condiment, topping, or flavoring accoutrement used after the dish is prepared. Balsamico originated from the region of Modena, and Reggio Emilia, Italy where it has been family produced for a millennium. Unlike common vinegars, balsamic vinegar is thick, dark, syrupy, and has a compelling complex, sweet taste.
Balsamic vinegar was little known or appreciated by gourmet food professionals until the 1980′s, when Italian food writer, Marcella Hazan, began publishing the fine cooking aspects of the balsamic vinegar condiment. Shortly thereafter, chefs and cooks in the UK and America began to take notice. A ground swell of popularity has boosted balsamic vinegar in nearly every food cuisine. Gourmet chefs use tradizionale balsamico vinegar as a condiment, very sparingly on simple dishes where the balsamic vinegar’s unique taste can be appreciated. True balsamic vinegar is very rich and thick, thus it is used in small amounts when adding flavor to meats or fish. A popular after dinner dessert is a drizzle of thick balsamico over fresh fruit or fresh sliced strawberries.
Traditional balsamic vinegar requires years to reach perfection. The true flavor of balsamic vinegar is obtained from the grapes themselves with no adulteration of ingredients. Well seasoned wooden barrels add flavor year by year as the balsamic vinegar ages and matures during the process of transferal from one cask to another. Some Italian commercial producers will make a “tradizionale” balsamic vinegar along with a less expensive high quality balsamic vinegar. The latter vinegar is made from the same grapes and heritage, but not aged nearly as long. True Italian balsamic vinegar is found under protected names such as, “Aceto Balsamico Tradizionale di Modena”. A traditional or quality balsamic vinegar condiment will have no additives. Inexpensive vinegars labeled as ‘balsamico,’ or ‘balsamic’ often have caramel or brown sugar additives to impersonate the sweet flavor of true balsamic vinegar.
balsamic vinegar, balsamic condiment, balsamico, Aceto Balsamico Tradizionale di Modena