Aged Balsamic Vinegar - What Is It and How to Use It
Posted by Ruth Mercurio, Professional Olive Oil & Wine Taste on 20th Feb 2023
Aged Balsamic Vinegar - What Is It and How to Use It
Balsamic vinegar is obtained by mixing several select wines (white and red) and leaving them to rest inside special wooden barrels. Depending on the type of vinegar you want to obtain, they are left to age for more or less time. Aged balsamic vinegar takes about 12 years to reach its best point, while those of simple quality mature in 3 to 5 years.
The flavor of aged balsamic vinegar is characterized by having sweet tints and preserving the bitterness of wine. This raw flavor is obtained because aged balsamic vinegar is prepared from the wine with the "must," the fresh juice obtained from the grapes before making the wine. The sap is boiled to form a syrup, giving it that characteristic color and texture. For this reason, aged balsamic vinegar is very flexible and can be used for many things. Within its category, there are also other varieties of vinegar, which are labeled according to their aging time:
● Affinato: 12 years of aging
● Vecchio: 15 to 20 years of aging
● Extra Vecchio: 25 years of aging
Each year, balsamic vinegar is transferred to different wooden barrels so that it can get some of the flavors of the other woods. The only woods approved for elaboration are oak, cherry, chestnut, mulberry, acacia, juniper, and enzina.
But what can aged balsamic vinegar offer to your kitchen? Aged balsamic vinegar is a fantastic product that can give that extra touch to your dishes. But where does it come from? Let's learn more about the origin of this excellent product, and later we will talk about how to combine it for superior results.
The origin of aged balsamic vinegar
There is a lot of different information about the origin of aged balsamic vinegar, making it hard to identify its true origin. However, we know for sure the place where it was born. The birthplace of aged balsamic vinegar is Italy, in Emilia Romagna, Modena. For many years balsamic vinegar has been used to prepare different dishes and sandwiches, ranging from the most straightforward salad to the most elaborate seafood or meats and even some pieces of bread.
According to historical records, King Henry III of Franconia received a bottle of vinegar as a gift in 1046. Vinegar was used for a long time; in the Middle Ages, when many disciplines, such as cooking, medicine, and art, began to emerge with greater force.
Aged balsamic vinegar was known and used only in Italy for a long time. Italian families have made it for almost a thousand years, keeping the traditional recipe. But when Italy's trading business increased, thousands of Europeans tried this fantastic product and started to use it, thus increasing the popularity of balsamic vinegar in Europe.
In 1970 aged balsamic vinegar began to be known outside of Europe. In many cities, modern cafes and bars began to become popular, as well as promoting the use of balsamic vinegar in the kitchen. Balsamic vinegar became a staple of Italian culture, and its different flavors became famous worldwide.
As we mentioned before, quality balsamic vinegar has a designation of origin from the northern part of Italy and must bear the nickname "balsamic vinegar tradizionale" to know that it meets the properties and quality standards. But how to use it in food? Next, we give you some tricks about using balsamic vinegar in the kitchen and getting the most out of it.
Uses of Aged Balsamic Vinegar
Balsamic vinegar alone has many health benefits since the resulting product comes from grapes and contains many natural antioxidants and other fibers that help the body's digestion. Having varied nutrients also helps to have a feeling of satiety, so it is ideal to accompany light foods such as steamed vegetables or salads.
This product can be used surprisingly with sweet foods since, in its preparation, no salts or other sugars are added that could alter the flavors. The only flavors that predominate in aged balsamic vinegar are natural ones from fermented grape juice and its sugars.
For example, you can use it to serve a creamy ice cream that you want to give a touch of originality and something bittersweet, such as vanilla or cheese. And yes, you can combine it with cheese, such as mozzarella, which is characteristic of Italy and is usually added to the calzone dough.
Balsamic vinegar is ideal for dressing meats and vegetables. Still, when used in hot dishes, you should add it just before removing the vegetables or meat from the heat so that the flavor is impregnated without losing its natural aroma. You can also use it in red meats such as rib eye or T-bone since they are very juicy meats that go perfectly with the texture and flavor of balsamic vinegar.
The same applies to white meats such as fish. Marinate the tilapia filet and let the cooking process do the rest. In this manner, the fish retains its aroma and flavor as long as it is cooked over low heat.
For example, there are flavored varieties of balsamic vinegar, such as fig balsamic vinegar, which is ideal for accompanying fresh fruit or vegetable salads but also to savor with a good toast of traditional sourdough bread. You can also use it to accompany sandwiches or some pieces of bread.
Sourdough bread goes very well with aged balsamic vinegar because both products have a fermentation process that gives them a characteristic flavor. Another excellent combination is combining balsamic vinegar with dressings based on olive oil and lemons.
In addition to the previous combinations, many other flavors and preparations of balsamic vinegar are delicious. As with anything, the best thing is to try it yourself and discover the richness and flexibility of this fantastic product.
So visit our olive oil store near me section where you will find delicious traditional aged balsamic vinegar and some vinegar flavors or other organic products. You can also contact us today at 805 238 2900 or firstname.lastname@example.org.