Quick Recipes and Easy

Taste, Quality and Price: Selecting the Right Balsamic Vinegar

One of the very nicest things about life is the way we must regularly stop whatever it is we are doing and devote our attention to eating. — Luciano Pavarotti

The cook in your family would want it, the aunt that has everything might not have it, and your mom would delight in it.

What is it?

Modena balsamic vinegar.

A gift of quality Modena balsamic vinegar will be a much appreciated, highly valued gift for any cook in your circle of influence.

The Discovery

This taste sensation was most likely learned in the Middle Ages and probably by accident. It has been a gift for royalty and Western Culture finally understood its value in the kitchen in the 1980’s.

The Process

As seasons change, and the years go by, balsamic vinegar is coming of age. A minimum of twelve years is needed for the coveted title ‘aceto balsamic tradizionale’. This title has as much importance as marks placed by a consortium governing body for the fine wines of Europe. Additionally, especially fine Modena balsamic vinegar will bear the title ‘Extra Vecchio’.

Multiple wooden casks are used in the process of making Modena balsamic vinegar. The most pure vintage is aged in chestnut, oak, cherry, mulberry, ash, juniper and acacia wooden casks. Each wood provides its own unique contribution to the unique taste.

The Uses

Balsamic vinegar is often sought as an ingredient for vinaigrette dressing and remains a useful and potent ingredient in numerous dishes from strawberries to fish, salads to ice cream.

The Preparation

In fifteen minutes a home blended balsamic vinaigrette can be prepared for family or guests using such ingredients as extra virgin olive oil, crushed garlic cloves, balsamic vinegar, white wine vinegar, thyme leaves, chopped fresh basil, finely chopped chives, chopped tarragon, and chopped oregano. A food processor can be used to blend ingredients and the finished mixture should be allowed to fully saturate overnight. In concert, these ingredients will awaken taste buds that thought there was small left to learn in taste.

The Gift

Gift baskets are available with lower priced balsamic vinegar that may not fit the Italian standard of perfection, but remain a prized, yet affordable gift that includes most of the same taste as the more expensive Modena balsamic vinegar.

The Comparison

Fascinatingly, some Modena balsamic vinegar that is now available was just beginning the aging process when Western cultures first fell under the spell of such vibrant taste.

Value priced balsamic vinegar can be bought for less than $25 per 8 ounces and is especially valuable for sauces, marinades and balsamic vinaigrette. There are more inexpensive varieties of balsamic vinegar in stores; but these products often are small more than caramelized brown sugar and common vinegar. They may provide a unique taste to your meal, but should not be confused with more authentic varieties. Right balsamic vinegar requires no preservatives and has an indefinite shelf life. Should you learn the balsamic vinegar you bought in the store has preservatives, you might consider the buy of balsamic vinegar that includes all the benefits and taste of Italy’s finest vinegars.

The Taste

The gift of balsamic vinegar is a gift of excellent taste. It provides a sense of sharing an international secret and leaving the recipient feeling that fortune has indeed smiled on them.

James Zeller writes for gourmet gift related websites such as Cruets.com . Here is a selection of cruets.com/Scripts/VillaBellentani.asp?MID=4 balsamic vinegars that he found, and a creative collection of cruets.com culinary gourmet gifts.

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