All balsamic vinegars are not created equal. Traditional artisan balsamic vinegar is highly praised by gourmet chefs and also very expensive. The balsamic vinegar drizzled liberally over a salads which many of us are familiar is not made in the same way as the traditional artisan balsamic vinegar, which is reduced grape juice aged for at least 12 years in various types of wooden barrels. Woods such as oak, cherry, chestnut, mulberry, ash and acacia, each year the product moving into a barrel of smaller size. Each wood adds a tint of flavor to mix. Commercial balsamic vinegars are not aged at all, they are actually wine vinegar with added color and thickening agents to make the look like the traditional variety. These commercial grade products can be made much quicker therefore much cheaper.
Commercial balsamic vinegar can be used on salads, pastas. It can also be used as a dip for bread, for marinates, reductions and sauces. Traditional artisan balsamic vinegar should be used sparingly to enhance fruit, pastas, antipastos, eggs and steaks.
If you only want this to mix with oil for your salad you can buy the commercially made. But if you are looking for traditional artisan balsamic vinegar you will want to look for consortium approved Traditional balsamic vinegar made in the Modena and Reggio Emilia provinces of Italy.
The shelf life of balsamic vinegar is almost indefinite.
Any vinegar can be used as a substitute for commercial grade balsamic vinegar but they will all change the flavor of the dish.
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I received a bottle of balsamic vinegar as a gift and I need suggestions on how to use it. Thanks!
Send it to me!
Try putting some good olive oil in a shallow dish (a little plate with sides works well) and drizzle with balsamic vinegar. Optionally, sprinkle with italian seasonings, then serve as a dip for a really nice, crusty loaf of bread- heaven!
This is the absolute best way to serve balsamic vinegar.
I have just recently learned about balsamic vinegar (some of it's really expensive) Fancy restaurants serve it mixed with warmed olive oil for sopping up french or italian bread, and that is really good. I also got a bottle as a gift. It makes really good oil and vinegar dressing, though some of the stronger brands can be watered a bit. I also put it directly on my steamed chard, spinach and kale or right on salads. the best kind is aged for ten years or more. It's easy to get obsessed with it.
I use the balsamic vinegar in my good seasonings cruet jar (for more flavor than apple cider vinegar) or you may use it for adding flavor to meat (great on pork!)
Use it in marinara spaghetti sauce or with olive oil and herbs over pasta. It has a different flavor that it takes getting used to by some people, but it is worth it!