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The Wonders of Balsamic Vinegar

 
 
Reply Thu 12 Dec, 2002 02:32 pm
This was split out of Ten Most Livable Countries in the Politcial forum as it has more validity here -- I'll post the individual responses from there and give a link. Give us your experience here with various types and brands of Balsamic and maybe some links if you buy online. Recipes are also welcome including in sauces, marinades, etc.
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Type: Discussion • Score: 2 • Views: 7,534 • Replies: 24
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Lightwizard
 
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Reply Thu 12 Dec, 2002 02:35 pm
fbaezer's response to patiodog's inquiry about the Balsamic vinegars of Modena:

It's superb.
Specially Il Duca, the one in which they leave the "mother-root" for 28 years in the barrel.
They use balsamic vinegar for everthing, from meat seasoning to desserts (strawberries with balsamic vinegar are excellent).
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Lightwizard
 
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Reply Thu 12 Dec, 2002 02:42 pm
The colored, flavored Balsamic available in our supermarket is a far dry from the thick, aged varieties that one has to go to a specialty market to get or it is available online. It's expensive! I've found Colvita to be one of the better faux Balsamics (the flavoring and color being derived from aged root elixir). The trick is they lable the products "Balsamic Vinegar of Modena" instead of "from Modena" so they don't really come from Modena.
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Lightwizard
 
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Reply Thu 12 Dec, 2002 02:43 pm
BillW's response was:

LW, so what kinda cost are we talking about? I love the faux pas stuff. In the past, I've found the cheap stuff is good enough until I try the expensive stuff (such as caviar) - after tasting the real stuff, I don't want to go back. In other words, if it is too expensive I'll just skip the experience until I'm on my death bed. Of course, I already got about 30 items on the list for that day (Jennifer Lopez, just stay young)!
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Lightwizard
 
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Reply Thu 12 Dec, 2002 02:44 pm
Try this for a range of prices on Balsamics. The real stuff is very potent so has to be diluted. It's great in the Northern Italian sauces that ask for Balsamic as you only use a few tablespoons. So gauge the amount you have to use against the cost. The supermarket variety is already diluted in several ways and so are some on this site. Wish they had a disclosure about how the vinegars are produced and what they are diluted with (like most of them are diluted with cheap white grain vinegar.) I actually prefer the flavored rice vinegars for salads -- Paul Newman's Balsamic is okay for a premixed. And yet another topic to split off into the Food category! (Politics, however, would be that one gets more with honey than vinegar!)



LINK TO BUY BALSAMIC VINEGAR
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Lightwizard
 
  1  
Reply Thu 12 Dec, 2002 02:47 pm
To which Cobalt responded:

Lightwizard - I too like the flavored vinegars, especially the mild, delicate, rice vinegar I now use in potato salad. Much more delicate and allows the other herbs added in to more activately provide the flavor.

As to balsamic vinegar - I've used it for about 6 years now, usually with the $5.00 bottle from the grocery, and even at that it was sparing use. What to do, what to do - my son, a chef, gave me a bottle of $60 balsamic vinegar that gourmet restaurants use. Now, this was last spring. Is this bottle open yet? I think NOT, lol!
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Lightwizard
 
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Reply Thu 12 Dec, 2002 02:50 pm
You can dilute that with another vinegar (and unflavored rice vinegar is ideal) and use it in recipes that call for a Balsamic vinegar where it is cooked into a sauce or is in a marinade. I think I'll have this split off into a discussion of Balsamic vinegar and solicit some recipes!
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Lightwizard
 
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Reply Thu 12 Dec, 2002 03:37 pm
patiodog is still carrying on at Most Livable Countries Laughing

hmmmmmm. problem is, i watched some show sampling the really hoity-toity varieties -- $300 a bottle, and has to be officially sampled and stamped by the local gubmint. (course, at this point, after months of ruminating on this in my head, it might be a disappointment -- naaaahhhh....)
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patiodog
 
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Reply Thu 12 Dec, 2002 03:42 pm
mmmmmmmmmmmm...........
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littlek
 
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Reply Thu 12 Dec, 2002 03:57 pm
I've only tasted good, thick, balsamic vinegar once or twice, but I'll never forget it....
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Lightwizard
 
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Reply Thu 12 Dec, 2002 04:15 pm
It has reached the status of fine wine. The expensive, thick Balsamic fermented and aged in the Modena tradition is really potent and really brewed for sauces. I'd like to see some recommendations as to price and brands here -- maybe we can reach a compromise.
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littlek
 
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Reply Thu 12 Dec, 2002 04:16 pm
I think it's fairly expensive even in italy.
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patiodog
 
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Reply Thu 12 Dec, 2002 04:20 pm
Dean and DeLuca's range: (click me)
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fbaezer
 
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Reply Thu 12 Dec, 2002 04:44 pm
Good Lord, patiodog, they're also peddling cherry balsamic vinegar?

To certify a balsamic vinegar, it must have a stamp in the bottle, which says: aceto balsamico tradizionale di Modena, and it's numbered. Tradizionale is the key word.

Maybe this will be another digression, but the first time I lived in Modena, (late 1974), balsamic vinegar was consumed only in the province. It didn't even reach Parma. You could get "peasant" balsamic vinegar. and peasant wine and other stuff.
Those were the very last years of traditional Italy, in many senses.
It's happened elsewhere in Europe, too.
Globalization is the name of the game that finished it all (and let us have all kinds of merchandise everywhere).
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Kara
 
  1  
Reply Thu 12 Dec, 2002 08:26 pm
I have paid way too much for my beloved balsamic vinegar. I love the aged Modena stuff and have paid $15 for a small bottle. A few drops can make a salad divine. Or transform almost anything by its lingering after-sweetness.

My son-in-law in CA got into fig balsamic vinegar and sent me some. It is quite extraordinary, and I have used it in many applications. A few drops on a bowl of lettuces and the dish is transformed. Has anyone else tried this vinegar?
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ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Fri 13 Dec, 2002 10:03 pm
I know I haven't had the very best balsamic. But I had some balsamic that someone gave us, knowing we were food nuts, and love italy; a little was enough, very rich. I put it, I remember, on a freshly sliced hot roast chicken...

well, there you go...

no, Kara, I haven't tried the fig balsamic. I will have to check it out next time I go to Oakville Grocery...
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ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Fri 13 Dec, 2002 10:07 pm
When I was visiting my friend in Napa last September she took me to Dean and DeLuca's near there. Wonderful selection of foodstuffs, but I felt they were a little high for a given product. Let's say for a single malt...it would be $5 or more dollars higher there than another store. But what a selection of cheeses, yow.

So, if one wanted to invest in a good balsamic, I would look around at italian import purveyors. I have some links for those, if anyone is interested.
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Ginny
 
  1  
Reply Tue 17 Dec, 2002 03:20 pm
I use Kirkland Balsamic vinegar from Costco - aged 15 years - it's quite fabulous! And, less than $10 for a good sized bottle.
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Ginny
 
  1  
Reply Tue 17 Dec, 2002 03:28 pm
It's in 1 litre bottles (33.8 oz), and aged in oak casks. It says "Balsamic Vinegar of Moderna" but says it is 'produced in the rustic Italian region of Moderna." In fact, this new bottle doesn't say how long it is aged!
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Kara
 
  1  
Reply Tue 17 Dec, 2002 05:18 pm
Thanks Ginny! I had never thought of Costco for balsamic vinegar.
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