Traditional balsamic vinegar is a specialty item few of us have the good fortune of encountering at the supermarket or even in restaurants. However, it’s one of the most singularly delicious ingredients in the world and holds a special place in the hearts of chefs and foodies everywhere. Classic Italian balsamic is not for cooking but rather for finishing. Like a good olive oil balsamic should be reserved for drizzling over recipes right before they’re served. With its intense combination of fruity flavors, it complements a wide range of dishes but is truly spectacular when sprinkled over fresh berries, some good Parmigiano-Reggiano, or creamy desserts, like panna cotta or vanilla ice cream. One of our favorite ingredients to work with, we’re certain you’ll love our expertly curated selection of traditional authentic balsamics from Italy. Browse through our collection below for a taste of the unparalleled flavor of gourmet balsamic vinegar at its finest!
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How is Balsamic Vinegar Made?
True balsamic vinegar begins with grape must. Grape must consists of whole grapes (complete with juice) and include the skins, seeds, and even the stems. Traditionally, this must comes from white, late-harvested grapes, local to the Modena region of Italy. Cooked over a flame until reduced by half, the grape must is then left to ferment for three weeks naturally. Once the fermentation period is over, the must is left to mature and concentrate in wooden casks for a minimum of twelve years. These barrels, or batteria as they are called, consist of five casks each successively smaller than the last. This is where the vinegar concentrates, taking on the flavor of the wood and slowly becoming thicker and more syrupy as it evaporates through the walls of the barrels. Every year the aged balsamic is bottled from the smallest cask in the sequence, then refilled from the cask before it. Never fully drained, the vinegars blend in the same way good sherries or port do. Made with the same level of care and attention as a prized liquor, balsamic is a distinctive condiment that holds a special place in the hearts of chefs and gourmands around the world! Great on a wide variety of ingredients from berries to game meats, drizzle it over dishes to add its intoxicatingly delicious taste to all your meals.