Balsamic vinegar is well known for its exquisite taste and intense color. This extraordinary ingredient derived from grapes brings a sophisticated touch to a great variety of dishes. But why should you always keep high-quality balsamic vinegar in your pantry?
At We Olive, we are proud to be more than a retailer for authentic EVOO and balsamic vinegar. We make it our goal to help our customers know how to include these extraordinary foods in their diet so that they can enjoy their benefits and delight their palates. We do so through our website, newsletters, and balsamic and olive oil tastings at our olive oil stores. Use our olive oil stores near me and olive oil tastings near me tools.
What are some benefits of using aged balsamic vinegar?
Did you know that balsamic vinegar was once used to treat bone problems and fight rheumatism? Most people are not aware that in the Middle Ages, this food was used for sprains or rheumatic problems. Today, it continues to offer a series of health benefits, which have been confirmed in various studies. Some of them are the following:
Helps reduce pain. - When an area of your body hurts, such as the soles of your feet, you can use aged balsamic vinegar, massaging the area where you feel pain. This action will help you enjoy relief from such discomfort.
Provides antioxidants. - Antioxidants are valuable nutrients for our body. Since balsamic is rich in polyphenols, it can help the cardiovascular system, control
your weight and contribute to degenerative disorders.
Disinfectant. - Since balsamic vinegar contains acetic acid, you can use it to clean and disinfect surfaces. In the past, it was used to clean or disinfect wounds. Its properties and texture allowed it to be the ideal ointment.
Reduces blood sugar levels. - It has an anti-glycemic impact when it is consumed with meals. Blood sugar levels remain more stable and limit the probability of a sudden drop in energy levels.
Reduces hypertension. - According to studies, the consumption of balsamic and other kinds of vinegar decreases blockages in the arteries and stabilizes the blood pressure.
Beauty balm. - Another exciting fact about balsamic vinegar is that it restores the pH or acidity levels of the body. Historically, it was used to treat acne problems, sitz baths, and as a hair product.
What are the main components of aged balsamic vinegar?
Genuine balsamic vinegar is produced from a mixture of red and white grape juice, which are derived from a variety of grapes such as Trebbiano, Sauvignon, Barbera, and others. The grape is cooked and matured by slow acidification from natural fermentation. Balsamic vinegar has a sweet and sour taste thanks to this ancient production process.
Like wine, it is fermented in precious wood barrels. No chemical product is used in the entire process, so its flavor intensifies as it ages. Those produced industrially usually have a maturation process of 4 or 5 years, but the more limited versions mature or age at least 12 years.
During the aging stage, balsamic is passed to smaller barrels or containers in order to obtain stronger and deeper flavors. At We Olive olive oil stores, we offer only top-quality aged balsamic vinegar produced with high standards and artisan methods from producers in California.
Each bottle passes all the required quality parameters to ensure a premium product, so you will enjoy the incomparable flavor in all its presentations, traditional and flavored balsamic vinegar, including one of our best sellers, blackberry balsamic vinegar.
How should I use balsamic vinegar in my diet?
There are different ways to use balsamic, depending on your taste, meals, and health goals. For example, if you want to lose weight, you can consume a small spoonful each morning in your breakfast. The incredible thing about it is that it only contains 14 calories, which will allow you to enjoy practically every day and consume fewer calories throughout the day.
If you have nasal congestion problems, you can make use of this wonderful product. Simply add a few drops of the best balsamic vinegar to the water in your nebulizer and breathe in the steam. In this way, your nose will stay hydrated and you can breathe normally.
Researchers recommend taking at least one tablespoon of the best balsamic a day to stay healthy and experience noticeable benefits. Also, you can try a variety of recipes with this versatile ingredient to help other ingredients stand out and enjoy wonderful health benefits.
TYPES OF BALSAMIC VINEGAR
When choosing a balsamic vinegar product, you may have realized that there is a wide variety of products at your fingertips. But which one to choose and how is the best way to use them? Here are some essential characteristics of the different types of balsamic vinegar:
• From Modena
This is the most classic of balsamic vinegars. It is an Italian vinegar originating or made in the province of Modena, in the Emilia region of Italy, with grapes of different varieties made in a traditional and artisan way. It stands out for its robust flavor but with slightly sweet notes.
• Flavored or infused
This vinegar is used for desserts such as ice cream, strawberries, or salad dressings with sweet touches and even cocktails. It contains, for example, concentrated orange juice, which generally gives it a deep caramel color. At We Olive's online olive oil store, you will find blood orange balsamic vinegar, fig balsamic vinegar, blackberry balsamic vinegar, and many more.
• Balsamic cream
This one is made with fruit pulp, giving it an even thicker consistency. Some of the most common creams are made from grapes, raspberries, figs, or truffles. They are perfect to combine in main dishes and salads and desserts.
• Commercial grade
These kinds of vinegar generally have a short aging process and may contain added colors or flavors. Its consistency is thick, and they are characterized by a sweet and sour taste with which you can use it as a dressing, marinades, or sauces. They often offer a much more affordable price than others.
• Degree of seasoning
This type of balsamic vinegar is not made in the traditional Moderna way, but it still undergoes longer aging and care times than commercial grade. Although its age may be less than 12 years, its flavor is more similar to traditional balsamic vinegar.
GET TO KNOW WE OLIVE'S TOP-RATED BALSAMIC VINEGAR AND EVOO
At We Olive, we have incredible products that you will love. In addition to our select certified extra virgin olive oil, we have a wide variety of balsamic vinegars that will adapt to your tastes and needs.
In our online olive store, you can discover an incredible tasty variety. Here are some examples:
⮚ Sweet balsamic mustard
⮚ Traditional aged balsamic vinegar
⮚ White peach balsamic vinegar
⮚ Blackberry and olive balsamic vinegar
⮚ Orange balsamic vinegar
⮚ Balsamic fig vinegar
⮚ White pear balsamic vinegar
⮚ Balsamic lime vinegar
⮚ Triple Chocolate Balsamic Olive Vinegar
⮚ White lemon balsamic fandango
⮚ Pomegranate white balsamic vinegar
⮚ Balsamic vinegar of citrus spices
⮚ Organic Turmeric Balsamic Vinegar
⮚ Lambrusco balsamic fandango
⮚ Ritrovo truffle balsamic vinegar
⮚ Organic white balsamic vinegar
You will also be fascinated by our gourmet products such as Parmesan pesto, truffle mayonnaise, jalapeño fettuccine, and select sauces that will make you feel truly in Italy. These products will help you renew your kitchen menu and pamper your palate and your loved ones.
Extraordinary recipes with balsamic vinegar
Here are just a few examples of delicious and simple recipes you can try. You can follow us on our social networks to learn new seasonal recipes.
Tomato salad with shrimp
If you are a foodie or salad lover you need to try this recipe. You will only need 14 large and raw shrimp peeled, ½ lemon juice +1/4 teaspoon of We Olive Organic Meyer Lemon olive oil, 2 large red tomatoes, 2 cups of sugar, and 1 teaspoon of aged balsamic vinegar.
After cooking the shrimp with lemon juice, cut the shrimp in half, boil the 2 tomatoes so that you can remove the skin, once this is done, remove the seeds. In another pot with water, add the sugar, Meyer lemon EVOO, and balsamic. Once the water boils let it rest. Meanwhile, put the shrimp and tomatoes on a plate, serve to taste, and decorate with a sprig of dill.
Cranberry and orange crostini
This crostini is a quick and delicious appetizer. For this, you will need 1 baguette cut into 24 pieces, 2 tablespoons of authentic extra virgin olive oil, sea salt, 10 ounces of goat cheese, cranberry sauce, ¼ of chopped pistachios, blood orange olive oil, and aged balsamic vinegar.
For this recipe, you must preheat the oven to 400 ° C. Lightly brush the slices of bread with We Olive’s EVOO and place them on a baking tray. Sprinkle it with salt and toast for about 10 min. After that, take the beard out and cover it with the cranberry sauce, add the pistachios, the blood orange olive oil, and balsamic. You can use it for up to 24 portions of entrees.
Sweet balsamic peppers
For this simple dish, you can turn the peppers into a delicious side dish as a garnish. You only need 4 large bell peppers of the color you want, 2 tablespoons of genuine extra virgin olive oil, 1 small sliced onion, 2 cloves of garlic, ¼ cup of water, kosher salt, pepper, 3 tablespoons of aged balsamic vinegar, and 2 tablespoons fresh basil.
For the preparation, you must cut the peppers into uniform strips, heat the EVOO in a pan over medium heat, add the onion and cook it for about 5 minutes. Then add the garlic and bell peppers and cook them for about 10 minutes. After this time add water and leave it for another 10 minutes. Finally, season with salt and pepper to taste, and incorporate the balsamic with the fresh basil, accompany this pepper side dish with your favorite dishes like steak or chicken.
How to choose the best balsamic vinegar?
Undoubtedly, balsamic vinegar has a unique flavor. Although there are many brands available in the supermarket, you must be careful with which ones you choose, since there may be low-quality balsamic or mixtures of different kinds of vinegar. Read the label carefully to find out the true ingredients and process to make it.
Various characteristics must be met from the production process to bottling. At We Olive, in an effort to maintain top-quality products we adhere to high international standards and certification from the best institutions in California.
Finding the best balsamic might not be very easy or cheap, but the effort will be worth it. If you want to experience the best quality balsamic vinegar that follows ancient and organic processes, buy now online or at one of our We Olive olive oil stores. Search for an olive oil store near me to enjoy tastings and delight with our great variety of EVOO and balsamic.
It may be helpful to think about the following factors before choosing:
It's essential to think about how and what you want to use the balsamic vinegar for since that will depend on the type of vinegar you need. If you like it as a main dish, you should choose an aged balsamic vinegar, which is a perfect partner with various types of meats or main dishes. On the other hand, if you want to give your desserts and salads a different touch, you may prefer a blackberry balsamic vinegar with unique flavor notes.
Generally, the size depends on how much you're used to using vinegar, as this will prevent it from aging and losing freshness in flavor. Think about if it's just for a special event or if you're one of those who constantly try new things in the kitchen.
Something important to keep in mind is that balsamic vinegar contains calories, and although they are actually few, it is necessary to balance it with the rest of the food you eat. So, if you are a person who has diabetes or you are careful with calories, you may have to consume it in moderation.
Where Does Balsamic Vinegar Come From?
Did you know that aged balsamic vinegar originated almost 1,000 years ago but became known to the world less than 50 years ago? How is it that this jewel of nature was kept secret for many years? Also, where can you get the highest quality handcrafted balsamic vinegar?
Discover the answer to this and other curious questions. Also, learn further historical details of the origin and production of authentic balsamic vinegar. Undoubtedly, its delicate aroma and exceptional flavor will take your recipes to another level!
History of balsamic vinegar
Around the 11th century, Modena, the heart of Emilia-Romagna, witnessed the birth of an extraordinary liquid known as balsamic vinegar. Its elaboration and conservation were for years a well-kept secret among some families. However, it was not until the last century that it became recognized worldwide.
On the other hand, others kept it as a family heirloom. Some more included it in their will or inherited it from their daughters as part of their marriage dowry and, in very few cases, gave it as a gift.
The first historical reference to aged balsamic vinegar is believed to date back to 1046, when a bottle was presented to Emperor Henry III. Since then, the "black gold of Italy," as some call it, began to gain a reputation as a "miracle cure."
The truth is that it does not work miracles, but since ancient times, the Romans used it as a tonic to combat acne or improve the appearance of the skin and even whet the appetite. In addition, during the Middle Ages, it was used to disinfect wounds and as a remedy to counteract bone pain and rheumatism. And hey, it was also used to relieve everything from sore throats to labor pains.
So, where does the title "balsamic" come from? Well, precisely, derived from its multiple medicinal uses, it was that the surname "balsamic" was attributed to it.
How is balsamic vinegar produced?
As we mentioned earlier, in the 19th century, balsamic vinegar was still unknown abroad. However, in the early 1980s, it began to be marketed in Europe, and little by little, it spread to other countries.
But, you may be wondering, what went into producing authentic balsamic vinegar of the same quality as the original from Italy? This unique process has been perfected over the centuries, but permanently preserving the foundations of the delicate artisan process of Modena, which is divided into three stages:
- Pressing and cooking: The pressing process is similar to excellent wines. The must or juice of the traditional grape must be slowly cooked in copper cauldrons to make an aged balsamic vinegar. After 10-12 hours, its volume is reduced by half and removed from the heat. Typically, 220 pounds of grapes yield 15 gallons of must, which declined to 6.5 gallons after boiling.
- Fermentation: At an outside temperature of about 68 F, the fermentation process must begin. And at the same time that it thickens, its aroma and flavor merge to provide a natural sweet and sour taste.
- Aging: Patience will be key during this stage. It must be aged for at least 12 years in oak, acacia, juniper, and ash barrels to obtain top-quality balsamic vinegar. Did you know that in the 15th century, it was left to age for 40 years?... Luckily now we don't have to wait that long!
During this aging period, the barrels are covered only with a fine cloth that allows the passage of oxygen to facilitate oxidation and increase the concentration of balsamic vinegar. Annually it is transferred to smaller barrels to acquire some of the flavors of the different woods. The result is balsamic vinegar with an exceptional texture, aroma, and taste.
How Rigorous Is the Process of Producing Aged Balsamic Vinegar?
Balsamic vinegar is a very popular ingredient used by chefs, those who cook as a hobby, and foodies thanks to its unique and exquisite taste—that fact, it's not the result of chance. Aged balsamic vinegar is produced through a rigorous process, which makes it an exclusive product on the market.
At We Olive, we adhere to the strict traditional process in Modena, Italy, for its production. Grape juice or must is needed to carry out the process. It should be sweet and thick in texture. Therefore, the grapes must have high sugar content. Particular importance is given to harvesting the grapes at the end of the season because there is a better chance of finding the sweetest fruit.
Learn a little about the strict process of making aged balsamic vinegar
Balsamic vinegar is an exclusive product; our producers only use the ripest and best quality grapes to maintain its distinctiveness. The process of making the best balsamic vinegar is rigorous and challenging. One of the challenges arises when the juice is extracted from the grapes, and the yeast in the air begins to convert the sugars into alcohol.
Grape juice should not be made into wine. Therefore, it is necessary to delay the fermentation process. Thus, the container of grape juice is exposed to fire to eliminate the yeast and concentrate the sugars. Grape juice should be cooked for at least 24 hours over low heat without bringing it to a boil.
After 24 hours, about half of the liquid evaporates, and the grape juice has a rich caramel color. Now we need to get the exact sugar content. For that purpose, an instrument called a saccharimeter is used that measures the density of the liquid; the denser, the sweeter it is.
You can't make balsamic vinegar without bacteria. That's why the cooked grape juice is poured into the so-called "mother barrel," which already contains certain special acetic acid bacteria from earlier productions. One of the significant challenges for producers to produce balsamic vinegar is to get the vinegar to have a complex, bittersweet flavor; the only way to achieve this is by maturing the grape juice for at least 12 years.
We know that the wine is matured in underground cellars to protect it from changes in temperature that could turn it into vinegar, but in this case, it is just what you are looking for. On many occasions, it is convenient to mature the must in the attic, where seasonal temperature changes vary, helping to create the vinegar.
Another particular challenge in the balsamic vinegar production process is concentrating the flavor and thickening the consistency. How is it achieved? When the grape juice is transferred to a series of increasingly smaller barrels of different woods, it provides a different flavor. The openings let in oxygen to feed the bacteria, turning the sugar into the vinegar.
Each year more than a tenth of the liquid evaporates. Hence the importance of touching the liquid. Otherwise, in the end, it would solidify. Winter is a good season when the liquid is decanted. The precious juice is extracted from the barrels, ready to be bottled.
Before being put up for sale, the elaborated balsamic vinegar must pass through the hands of expert tasters who will grant it the quality seal in terms of flavor and aroma. They will also check its color and viscosity. Depending on its age and origin, balsamic vinegar can cost up to 300 thousand euros per liter.
What types of balsamic vinegar exist, and what culinary uses do they have?
For simplicity, we will say that there are three main categories of balsamic vinegar. Each has its own characteristic flavor and suitability for specific culinary uses.
1. PGI Balsamic Vinegar, awarded by the European PGI Blue Seal (PGI is Italy for Protected Geographical Indication), is a very large category of balsamic. Having the IGP label means the production process must follow a specific set of rules. For example, only three ingredients are allowed: grape must, caramel, and vinegar.
This certificate or indication requires a minimum aging time of 60 days. Furthermore, at least one production phase must occur in the provinces of Modena or Reggio Emilia. This vinegar is usually affordable and can be used as a more sophisticated alternative to regular wine vinegar. It has a bittersweet, slightly acetic, and aromatic taste. If the PGI balsamic vinegar is aged for more than 3 years, the word "Invecchiato" is added to the label.
Balsamic Vinegar PGI can be used in salads, marinades, and as an ingredient in recipes. Some restaurants prepare "reductions" by slowly cooking PGI balsamic vinegar on the stovetop until it reaches a thicker consistency.
2. The Aceto Tradizionale di Modena (also called the Aceto Tradizionale di Reggio Emilia). This balsamic has been awarded the strictest red seal of the European PDO (Product Designation of Origin). It is a very different gastronomic specialty. This is undoubtedly the best among the balsamic vinegars on the market. Its color is shiny dark brown; it has a velvety and smooth consistency, with a complex aromatic bouquet. It is bittersweet, with a seductive acid undertone.
Using this magnificent seasoning raw as a final touch in dishes is highly recommended. Adding a touch of PDO balsamic vinegar at the last moment or in the last step of a recipe will allow you to savor the complexity of the flavors thoroughly.
3. Other non-PGI or PDO balsamic vinegar. This is probably the largest category. Here, we can find truly excellent balsamic vinegars, which are family productions made following the DOP's best practices but not commercialized in the market and even this region. Others sometimes choose production techniques outside the strict set of PGI-PDO rules, perhaps having different aging times and methods or adding flavorings to balsamic vinegar (often berries and other fruits, and then called condiments, but not balsamic vinegar).
Characteristics of aged balsamic vinegar
Our aged balsamic vinegar is characterized by its contrasts. On the one hand, the robust flavor that distinguishes vinegar made from red and white wines stands out, but at the same time, it has pleasant sweet notes that make it unique.
As for its tone, it is a very toasty dark brown vinegar, which is due primarily to its aging in wooden barrels. Thanks to its delicate aroma and dark tone, it brings intense color to almost any dish.
How is balsamic vinegar used in recipes?
Its thick and velvety texture makes it the perfect complement for savory and sweet dishes. Next time try it in the following foods:
- Salads: Although it is recommended to eat salads regularly, summer is the season par excellence. Its fresh and easy-to-prepare ingredients will keep you hydrated during this hot season. You just have to mix aged balsamic vinegar and extra virgin olive oil in equal parts, add salt to taste and a teaspoon of honey, and voila! Add the dressing to your salad and enjoy.
- Meats: Make fig balsamic vinegar the secret ingredient in your pork and lamb dishes or as a glaze on grilled meats. It will be exquisite!
- Desserts: Add a few drops of blackberry balsamic vinegar to your favorite ice cream, fruit, and cake recipes, giving your summer desserts originality.
Get the best balsamic vinegar today!
California has an ideal geographic location, climate, and terrain to produce the best balsamic vinegar and authentic extra virgin olive oil.
Our aged balsamic vinegar is handmade by our artisans, following the delicate traditional process of Modena, Italy. Ultimately, each product undergoes a rigorous process to certify its authenticity and quality.
And you, would you like to start enjoying the unique flavor and health benefits of balsamic vinegar and EVOO? Visit our section olive oil store near me today and discover our wide variety of artisan products.
Why choose We Olive's balsamic vinegar
Thanks to its distribution and dissemination of gastronomy, today, aged balsamic vinegar is becoming a staple in all kitchens, not just in prestigious restaurants. Nowadays, you can prepare fantastic recipes with traditional products that make you travel without leaving home.
At We Olive, we know how important it is that more and more foodies have access to these fantastic ingredients. That is why we offer you products that are characterized by having the following fundamental elements:
Our extra virgin olive oil and the balsamic vinegar that you will find in our store are carefully selected products. They are made with processes that adhere to strict protocols that guarantee optimal quality. In the same way, we strive to be especially thorough with the handling and processing the products for better conservation. The authentic balsamic vinegar at our olive oil stores will give you an incredible flavor in all your favorite dishes.
• Personalized service
Choosing balsamic vinegar in a supermarket can be a real challenge because there are areas where it is not so easy to find it or because the variety of brands can be confusing. Instead, we indicate which is the closest olive oil store near me. Or better yet, you can order online and have your products delivered in the comfort of your own home.
Have you looked high and low for balsamic vinegar, but options are limited? Don't worry, at We Olive, you can choose from a wide variety that best suits what you are looking for. Each of the balsamic vinegars will provide you with unique flavors, with which you can combine both exquisite dishes and desserts.
Enjoying quality ingredients on your table does not have to be too expensive. We offer you the perfect balance between quality, price, and flavors in our stores. In addition to that, you can find products in presentations of different sizes at super affordable prices to your doorstep.
DELIGHT YOUR PALATE WITH THE BEST EVOO AND BALSAMIC VINEGAR PRODUCTS!
In addition to providing you with nutritional elements, a good meal is capable of reviving memories, uniting family and friend bonds, transporting you to cultures, and, better yet, forging social relationships and personal emotions. That is why we always seek to provide you with ingredients that give each of your foods a special touch.
At We Olive, we are proud to contribute to culinary art through first-class products available to more and more people. Moreover, discover our services and personalized packages that make each purchase or gift more special. For example, our exclusive olive gift box contains some of the most select EVOO and balsamic vinegar products that you will love and that you will surely want to share with others.
Furthermore, we are committed to providing every customer with the opportunity to revel in the signature flavor of aged balsamic vinegar produced by artisan California farmers, crafted with the strict process that a high-quality product requires.
We promote the consumption of organic and healthy products. Therefore, in our online balsamic and olive store, you can find other products such as certified olive oil flavored balsamic vinegar.
Get to know this great variety of balsamic vinegar for yourself that you can enjoy. Do not hesitate to contact us at email@example.com, or you can call us at 805 238 2900 for any questions or special requests. Enjoy each meal as you deserve it, with those you love the most!