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  • Balsamic Vinegar

    Contributing Article by Sebastian Pistritto

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    Aceto Balsamic Vinegar
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    What is Balsamic Vinegar?
    True Balsamic Vinegar of Modena comes from the northern part of Italy, near the gulf of Genoa. It is made from unfermented juice from white grapes known as “must” which has high sugar content and is typically found in trebbiano grapes. When the juice begins to ferment, it is cooked in a copper kettle until about one-third of it has evaporated. Bacteria culture is usually obtained by adding vinegar which contains active bacteria. Finally, the balsamic vinegar is placed in wooden barrels to age. Here, it will evaporate by about 10% per year. Thus, 12 years later a 100-liter container has been reduced to 15 liters. True balsamic is very dark in color, has a sweet, fruity flavor and a syrupy-type consistency. Surprisingly, true balsamic vinegar is usually not found in supermarkets. There, one will generally find commercial grade balsamic vinegar that is made up of red wine vinegar mixed with must and caramel. I would probably estimate that over 75% of commercial grade balsamic vinegar is pure red wine vinegar with no must. You will notice that the commercial grade is much lighter in color and has a strong acidity taste and smell to it.

    How to use the Balsamic Vinegar:
    The smell is strong and very acidity so it's best to add it to meals that need a citric taste to it or for cooking. I recommend that you use the commercial grade vinegar on salads, cooking or marinating meats. Reserve the true balsamic vinegar to add it to something more fine, sweet and delicate. I recommend that you add it to fresh strawberries, sprinkle it on Parmesan cheese or add it to water to make a fruity beverage with it.

    How to select True Balsamic Vinegar:
    When you go to the market to buy true balsamic vinegar, you want to look at the bottle and examine the color. The balsamic vinegar should be very dark in color and have a syrupy consistency to it. Read the label on the bottle and take note of the origin of the bottle and where it was bottled. Look at the ingredients and notice how much “must” it has versus red wine vinegar. Remember, true balsamic vinegar is 100% must with no red wine vinegar. Additionally, look at the age that is stated on the battle of vinegar and if at all possible, taste it before you buy it.


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